Life in a day
Arroyo el Gato cannot even be found on Google Maps, and yet there are some people that call it home. Time here passes fast, but also achingly slowly. Everyday life is still dictated by the passing of the seasons and the activities they entail. The change of global climate patterns is deeply affecting this part of the world. Conditions are getting worse year on year. Bending the rules set by nature can mean not surviving the harsh winters or barren summers.
Chance took me here and luck brought me within the life of this community in the heart of Patagonia. Just a few houses are scattered around a valley surrounded by nameless mountains, a half-dried stream running through it, flocks of “teros” hopping from tree to tree, local cowboys riding the only dusty, rocky road. A church, a community centre, a school, one grocery shop. Nothing else.
From the moment I stepped into the house of one of the families I could not but appreciate the tranquillity reigning all around the peaceful valley, the abandonment to the daily slow-paced rhythm, the unplugged, frenzy-free life. A step back in time.
This is the recipe for a good and austere life. Until the stream where you get water from dries up, snow traps you inside the house, rain ruins your wood stockpile and crickets destroys all your crops before you could even store them for winter.
What pushed these people to move from their birth towns to such a remote place like this? How did they end up calling it home? What about all those modern comforts they left behind? I understand that there are always hidden, intimate and valid reasons behind life choices. That’s why I did not ask. Instead, I limited myself to observing and documenting habits, moments and rituals that filled morning, noon and night. Hallowed moments that with time have made life here bearable and enjoyable, becoming eventually the only and best life possible.
Yes, a pastoral idyllic life. But also a life of resilience, relentless adaptation, of searching and finding God in all the small things.