The deserts of the earth have always held a mystic appeal. It was in the deserts that people found their gods or their purpose on this planet traversing the cosmos.
One of the deserts located on the South American continent in Chile would seem to proffer no avenue for life to flourish. As has been vindicated by amazing finds and life’s determination to survive, life thrives in the most hostile places on this globe hanging in infinite majesty.
The Atacama Desert is said to be the driest place on this water world. Water is essential to life as we define life.
However, over a million people daily struggle to thrive in this hostile environment. Humans’ ability to alter their environs is a testament to the human spirit to survive against the odds.
Farmers produce their crops. Herders tend their animals. Fishers cast their nets. Copper miners bore deep into the crust. Astronomers gaze into the clear night skies.
The desert is a treasure trove of what humans have left behind in their journey in this desert. Preservation in the dry air reveals the relics of the days of lore.
Like all deserts there are mysteries and tales and legends. Abandoned nitrate mining camps and villages dot the landscape.
In ancient times the Atacameños natives viewed this place as their home. Over time these hunters became herders and farmers, leaving the camelids in peace. Like most cultures, they faded from the scene leaving behind their story; their descendants lost their memory of their heritage.
One of the most controversial finds in this place in the Southern Hemisphere is a small skeleton which could have been manufactured in a special effects studio. It is 6 inches (13 centimeters) tall and resembles an alien humanoid.
The Atacama Humanoid is a marvelous artifact. Is it a hoax? Is it some sort of mutation? Is it an “epigenetic augmentation of the human genome”? A new species of humanoid? Or alien? Or just a mystery?
As technology continues to change our lives and the moorings of the past slip away, the grasp for the extraordinary comes into play. Traditional beliefs of previous generations seem so superfluous, but perhaps deep down in the core of what makes us human, there is a desire to believe in something out there.
For in many ways we are connected to the stars. The atoms which form our being came from out there.
Deserts are places of the imagination for those who do not live there. For the inhabitants they are just home.
And belief or the search for belief? It depends on the weary travellers as they traverse their road of life with its shadows and light.
G. D. Williams © 2013