Boyacá – Close to Bogotá, filled with history, and landscape to die for

 

lilcasa

My “casa de campo”, a rental cottage in Oicata

Pastoral rolling hills dotted by small ‘casas de campo’, or farmhouses – their bricks the same color as the dirt roads and mountain side gashes from which these materials were obtained – provide the backdrop where cows and sheep graze under impossibly azure skies.

Regiments of clouds – fluffy, gossamer, cottony, cream white with varying degrees of grey and silver edges — line up obediently, like marchers in a band, to perpetuate their silent parade, moving across the sky in step with the music of the universe. Lining up in rows after rows, upon rows and rows, they herald the sunlight that gives their gossamer presence life, never hesitating in thier silent march to question or forget their purpose.

Dirt roads the color of sand slash through fields of green, scrub brush, crops and pasture, dotted by tiny yellow, purple and orange wild flowers. Blankets of dust, like mini-mushroom clouds, violently volatize and are quickly dispersed by the brisk winds that pummel these fields, when canvas-covered “caminos” (trucks) or a “moto” (moped) happen o to fly by.

Caballero

A “caballero”, country gentleman. near Iguaque

With skin as brown as the bark of an old tree, natives of the Muisca tribes that once dominated the area  and the Spaniards who conquered them, walk along the dusty roads. They are clad in a dark fedoras and weed-colored “ruanas”, thick, wool, rectangular ponchos with an opening for the head, that have been lovingly woven from the wool of their sheep. A dark skirt or black trousers complete this unusual local “uniform”, worn mostly by the elders.

 

A proclivity for “cerveza” (beer) is enjoyed by both the obsidian-haired women, who sport long braids beneath their felt hats, and the older men, who wear grey-stubble sprouts on their toothless visages, but they all are grinning in the bright mountain sunshine.

Subtle transformation of colors, moods, changes in temperature and season, the earth’s temperament, shifting breezes, and variations in the natural order, are as constant and as natural as the earth’s rotation. These elements create Boyacá’s unique beauty.

Three elements are essential in describing the aura of Boyacá:

bighse

Casa Amezquita

The sky and landscape are constantly changing. Dawn’s awakens on some days as gentle as a drowsy kitten, and on others, precociously, like a hungry toddler who greets the morning with loud yells. There is no doubt that the chill and atmospheric changes of the nighttime hours has prepared the landscape for the events scheduled for this particular day.

As the morning progresses, the earth and sky converse, and sunlight dusts the fields. Clouds grow and billow, skies darken and rain begins to fall. As individual as an idol versus a God, the moods of these entities are as capricious as the tempests of the sea.

The sky: the atmosphere as the sun climbs her celestial escalator causing the day to bloom, as nature mixes in her cauldron humidity, temperature, sunlight, dust and wind to determine the weather for this particular day, peaks and declines across the hours of the day. One never bores watching the colorful transition – from silky fog that blankets the lowlands at day break, to the increasing brilliant colors of the day as the sun marches west, to the diving submission of the sun, sinking below the mountain ridges and coughing up mountains of blue-grey clouds that grow and shift into a million different forms as the sun cools the land. When all the color and shapes have pulled their chilly atmospheric blanket across the mountains, the light show begins, with bursts of orange and white lightening. Against the backdrop of the black, foreboding cordillera oriental, the intensity and variations of these electrical charges continue late into the night, leaving little time for interruptions or breaks from the show.

The Boyacá landscape is eternal, providing more than a lifetime of images and vistas that could rarely be imitated on canvas.

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