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A Piece of My Mind
October 4, 2006

Patagonia Pastorale

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2006;296(13):1567-1568. doi:10.1001/jama.296.13.1567

Patagonia is the farthest place to which man walked from his place of origins . . . a symbol of his restlessness. From its discovery it had the effect on the imagination something like the Moon, but in my opinion more powerful.—Bruce Chatwin, author of In Patagonia

I am traveling in Chatwin's uttermost part of the world. The menacing Torres del Paine erupt from the surrounding glacial planes like a set of massive, black-stained, jagged teeth. They dwarf anyone and anything in their perimeter, including the shelters in this summer settlement on the Rio Serrano. I walk toward the river and the great towers of stone, my legs aching from a day of exploring, my belly full with grilled lamb. The sun wanes—a midnight sunset—followed by a gray dusk, and then the rising full moon.