Spain wants to train 21st century shepherdess

The Spanish Society for the Prevention of Population Loss has taken the lead in opening a special training institution for female herders, named “21st Century School for Female Herders.” It can not only help women to work in the male-dominated animal husbandry field, promote gender balance in rural areas, but also promote the revival of rural areas.

The training institution is currently preparing for the first semester and will select 30 students. Each student will cost 12,000 euros for training, which will be obtained through fund-raising. The teaching content includes small-scale sustainable agricultural management technology, the use of drones and other high-tech means to graze, cheese making, sustainable tourism, etc. In order to encourage female students to come to receive training, the organization also allows children to come to class. The first course lasts for 9 months, including nearly 500 hours of online training and practical guidance for one weekend every month. As soon as the registration was opened, 265 applications were received.

When a traveler of medium culture crosses the Andes for the first time, an admiring idea will inevitably assail him. He will be amazed at the sum of courage and ideal persistence that was necessary to pierce those vast mountains with the primitive resources of the conquerors.

But that was before, in the times of heroism; currently the railroad leads man without major material dangers through the sinuosity of the ravines, from one side of the mountain range to the other. The danger ma{64}terial has disappeared. But the other danger of the imagination remains. Have you asked the reason for this new danger, reader? … But this is a danger familiar to all somewhat faded heads.

There is a danger in the Andes, undoubtedly. Feeling that from within the being, but from the most intimate part of the being, strange ideas and feelings flow wildly; feel that the order of everyday reasoning is reversed, as the magnetic needle of sailors is reversed in certain climates; to feel, in a word, prone to going mad, is this not a serious and very fearful danger? Since others speak of the evil of the “puna” and other mountain ills, I allow myself to speak of the evil of the imagination, peculiar to all mountain ascents, but much more acute and fearful in the bosom of the Andes.

And why is the evil more acute in the Andes? Perhaps because the imaginative impression is descending there, unlike in other mountains, where it appears ascending. In the mountains that I could{65}We call them natural — Pyrenees, Alps, Carpathians — the feeling is enthusiastic, full and optimistic; while in the Andes we feel oppressed by we do not know what strange anguish, and the higher we rise above its peaks, we suffer a greater and more negative depression.

That is why perhaps the Andes are the only mountains in the world, those of the most intense originality. You will have visited the rocky gorges of the mountains of Spain, the humid summits of Switzerland, the warm and fragrant hills of the Apennine, even the mossy slopes of the Norwegian coast, or the flowery mountains of the tropical archipelagos: after having ascended to so many heights, You will need to know the main thing. Because the other mountains, apart from the accidents of light, climate and vegetation, are all alike: they are, finally, earthly protrusions, perfectly logical, with vegetation of trees, grasses or mosses, with animals that populate them, with slight or angry noises that encourage them. The Andes are something else. They do not belong to this world. They are swellings{66}hyperbolic, without life, without moss, without noise, without anything. It is a tormented and tragic something; but tragic without theatricality; sincere, intimately tragic.

However, one has ever seen that landscape. Where? … It is an almost familiar landscape. Yes, the memory finally arrives! A landscape like that of the Andes was seen by one there remote, when reading the suggestive books of Astronomy, in the engravings that transcribed the possible shape of the Selenite anfractuosities. Lunar landscape: this is the Andes. As opposed to the other mountains, which are earthly landscapes.

From afar, standing on the Mendoza plain, the traveler believes that he must be able to immerse himself with impunity within the Andean world. Beyond the first foothills, which form a shadowy wall, the snow-capped peaks slide, as it were, in the clear air, and ascend to miraculous heights. But none of this presupposes fear or extra-natural emotions: on the contrary, seen from the plain, those Olympic peaks that rise in the finest space,{67}suggest happy ideas. Later, when one has entered the labyrinth of the mountain range, the spirit is shrunken, our being is completely unmoved, and the capital anguish, the Andean anguish, supervenes; a moral anguish, made of nausea, like the material anguish of the “puna” resolves itself into nausea and oppression of the temples.

The entire order of the landscape has been reversed, and the ideas, the impressions, are reversed as well. To the lack of logic in nature, corresponds in our mind a mental disorder. Our imagination begins to run wild.

Millennial ideas emerge … And as the hours go by, the memory of the countries that have been left behind disappears: then comes the moment when we consider ourselves detached from the real world, and that we inhabit a dead star. And persisting in the belief that the star is dead, completely and forever dead, an unprecedented astonishment assails us: how are we, then, alive, if the star that holds us has died? … Or perhaps we will have died{68}to, really, and this semblance of mental life will be nothing more than a sleep pause, a chimerical dream dreamed by a corpse? …

This effect will be achieved by simply moving away from the railroad and the petty, isolated signs of real life that are staggered along the rails. Rounding any bend and climbing to a medium height, the Andean sensation, total and great, rushes into our being. See there that everything is over. The eyes, with an anguished inquisition, scrutinize the mountains and hollows, to see if they discover any sign of life; the ear opens attentively: but life does not appear. Silence, loneliness, final and final desolation. In such a case, will the grave and unspeakable compensation of mystical emotions remain? But religiosity, considered this word in its broadest and most eternal sense, does not go to the soul. One feels immersed in pantheism within the animated, multiple and vigorous nature of the middle heights; even there,{69}sweet eternity; but in the bosom of the Andes, eternity is represented as something empty and stiff. Until eternity, or the idea of ​​infinity, takes the form of a dead thing in the Andes.

And that ocher color of the mountains! Oh, the monotonous and strange coloring of those colossal peaks! Ocher color, repeated until fatigue. But within the ocher, what immensity of shades! And the nuances arrive suddenly, without gradation, without logic; on a long, flat slope, painted with matt copper, a large wart of bright color, like gold, jumps out, for example. But the sun, for its part, entertains itself in playing with the mountains, coloring them at its whim; this is how they can be suddenly surprised on the long crest of a saw, a fiery fillet, like a bar of fiery gold. Other times the sun casts a small mountain in the shade, and the mountain grows dark, dark, like the dirty bronze of statues in humid climates.

Humidity! Holy word! From the humidity comes all the good things, the substance{70}cious and poetic; plants, grains, health and vigor, and also mists, which are the mother of poetry. But in the Andes there is no humidity. If there were mists there, our soul would rest, because the mountain mists exert a sedative action on the spirit. But there are no mists, and the spirit remains tense, always tense, on the verge of breaking into madness. And the air is so clear, so fine and transparent, that things seem to have lost their gradual condition; the smallest stone can be seen at long distances, and it is as if the landscape, in its entirety, is coming over our eyes.

But is it really a landscape? Our classifying custom understands that a landscape must be made up of trees, shrubs, even herbs, not counting the other additions of the waters, the dwellings, the animated beings. In this sense, the Andes are not a landscape. All traces of animated life are missing there, and not the slightest lichen takes root on the mountainsides. The big snows were liquefied. Only in some places are there white spots; but that same{71} snow, infected by the universal desolation, takes on a dry appearance: one would say that the snow has fossilized. Ah, the whole landscape is an immense fossil! …

But even if the traveler has to flee in alarm from that tragic labyrinth, he will never thank his fortune enough for being able to have felt, lived and suffered it! In all the rest of the world there is nothing so gigantic and suggestive. Nothing is so unexpected and original as those august Andes, cursed from heaven, disinherited, tormented; but unique.

The birds escape, the creeping and vile animals flee too; perhaps in no spring a humble flower will be born there … The mountains are clean, as a skeleton can be clean under the injury of a hot sun. And that sky above, how clear it is! At twilight, after the sun disappears, the sky takes on an opaline hue, of imponderable finesse. Then the atmosphere cools sharply and sharply. A veil falls on the empty and deep spaces; It could be said that the landscape changes, at the threat of{72}an ineffable terror. It is the terror of the coming night. In the sunlight, death itself forgets its death; but the night comes and those mountains corpses are reintegrated to the evidence of his death.

The fate of those mountains has been consummated: they will never live again! And will all the other mountains of the globe, all the laughing valleys and plains, which are today the enchantment of man, will they in turn bend under the same mortal fate? It will be in an immeasurable span of time, but it will ever be. Like these cadaverous Andes, all our fought and eager land must die. And by then — oh desolate thought! —Not a soul will be left to consider the death of the world. The men will all have died. On the corpse of the Earth there will be no comments from men. The wretched men will be converted to dust!

As mystics tend to show human arrogance, to abate it, the example of a corpse, the Andes also appear to us in a threatening attitude. The duke of{73}Gandía contemplated the corpse of the woman he revered so much, and when he saw it rotten, in an instant his spirit reacted towards the divine side, and he hated earthly finery. Thus also the Andes appear to us as preachers of renunciation. Let us renounce pride, indeed! Sooner or later, the world that we admire so much, will become, like those hills, cold, silent, inanity.

Worlds roll through space that had a canopy of trees and a luxury of enchanted flowers; today they turn still, in an imperturbable wheel of sunrises and sunsets without purpose. Like those lifeless worlds, our world will also roll, our longing earth, this phenomenal ball that our passions fill with crimes, loves and glories.

Down below, behind the Andean barriers, towards the paths of the plains and the great rivers, numerous peoples are striving to rise up, magnify themselves and become glorious things; Beyond the plain and the rivers, over the wide continents, other peoples{74}they also seek power, greatness, and victory. Huge anthill of passions! And one century after another, from distances inaccessible to our perception, from the beginning of moral life, men fight, war, suffer, cry, nothing more than to achieve the right to immortality. Thirsty for immortality has always been the human species. A poet with a verse, a warrior with a feat, a sage with a new idea, they perch on the heap of the multitude claiming immortality. So take your immortality! Here is a statue, a history book, an indelible palm; your names are immortal. And then? … Behold those supreme mountains, those eminent corpses: consider that the whole globe will be as stupid a thing as those mountains are now!

And the dead world, the corpse world, will relentlessly rotate along the circular paths of infinity. The sun will make the radiant auroras dawn on him, and that the night, sweet repose, will come to envelop him in its blacks.{75} folds. But the dawn and the night, the centuries all, will find our dead Earth insensitive. The history of his greatness will be buried in the same corpse. The dead Earth will keep its secret, and the enormous efforts that man made to conquer thought or natural forces, there will remain unsuccessful, interrupted, sterile. Perhaps then, from a distant world, other intelligent beings, by means of colossal devices and resources, will investigate the secret of the dead Earth, and by induction they will extract some truth, and will subject our ancient existence to philosophical investigation and comment. But what if even this last hope fails us? If it happened, for example, that in no other star there can never be beings of medium intellectual stature, capable of interpreting our history? …

“Refuge” of Puente del Inca, 1909.


The lonely condor

On the highest summit, and in the most luminous portion of the sky, a dark note appears, just a point in that immensity. And it remains motionless for a long time, and then it descends rapidly into the region of shadow, hiding in the secret of the abysses. Later it emerges again into the light, and in the light it flies, with a long, slow, wavy, magnificent flight.

He is the condor, the lord of the Andes, the exclusive king of the heights. His majesty reigns over precarious things, according to the interpretation of the positive man: he reigns over sterile things, such as snow, ice, rock, lightning or hurricane. But dominating over those fruitless things, the colossal bird feels good. What does the men’s interpretations matter to her?

Why does that lonely bird climb so high? Is it to be closer to heaven? Or is it to flee further from the earth? What are your{77} feelings? Thirst for divine light, or abhorrence of earthly littleness? Longing to climb up to God, or longing to escape Man? …

Down here, on the evident earthly crust, man tracks useful, necessary, positive things: up there the caudal bird ascends the luminous ladder of infinity. Useful things, how much they cost us! There are fruits, and mines, and tasty meats on the earth; there is glory, and triumphs, and pleasures: and men are tracking, in pursuit of the desired things, hating and biting us, murdering us if necessary. Meanwhile, the August Condor plunges into his remote solitude, far from the earth, far from the useful things that can give pleasure and that arouse hatred.

Flowing bird, lonely! Who could understand the meaning of your rebellious soul, and also know how to go back to the clean and virginal region where useful things do not exist! Who could accompany you in your austere solitude! And above all, who could flee from man!{78}

You have powerful claws and an iron beak; but man, what dangerous and crushing claws he possesses! And the beak of man is fierce when it is thrown on the prey. Humanity is a crowd of claws and beaks ready, ready to fight, ready to tear, hungry for the fresh meat of the victims, or the stinking meat of the corpses.

And for what, finally? Death awaits us all, nearby, hidden in the shadow. If this phenomenal comedy of life had the virtue of eternity, even then it would be worth the pain of contesting it. But this ends naively, like a stupid low light …

On the corpse of the stony mountain range, the condor glimpses the secret of the world: it lives in contact with the bare peaks, with the rocks that have never turned green, with the horizons of eternal desolation. It already prejudges the final hour that will swallow up the condors, the men and the accidental land. And this exact vision of life pushes him further and further, towards the eternal infinity. While{79}that man, amazed by the rotation of the seasons and by the constant blossoming of springs, thinks, obsessively, that he himself must be a revived spring. And he does not think about the misery of time, and that a little later, the Cold Land will be like the Andes are now: an irredeemable skeleton. And within the corpse of the earth, it will whiten the corpse of man, and also the corpses of its glories, its hatreds, its enormous desires …

On the highest summit, the condor opens its powerful wings and remains vibrating for a long time, immobile in the center of space.

Drink the last ray of sunlight.

When the light is totally gone, the bird plunges into darkness, and wraps itself in it, a regal cloak for its lonely majesty.

Inca Bridge, 1909.
The Andes in the moonlight

On the snow of the peaks the last light of twilight fades, fades into whiteness, and from then on the night has settled.{80}dera definitely from the mountain range. A dreamy vagueness follows the day, a strange half-light that has no relation to any other luminosity; a half-light that is not even half-light, and that one cannot fully discern. It is not known if it is a reflection of snow, the last remnant of twilight or the dawn of the moon. And in that supreme and transcendental instant, the silence, which was so absolute during the day, now becomes something infinite and hallucinating. In the tomb, the corpses must feel a silence like this.

The first hour of the night is associated in our imagination with familiar ideas and emotions. Nothing as intimate and loving as sleep preparation. The most brutal and ferocious beasts tame and sweeten when sleep invades them, and in the treetops the wandering birds decline their independence as the day dies, and there they moan and whisper, gather and squeeze affectionately. And we men have imprinted on our souls, for life, the imprint of that moment when we reclined our indomitable head on our bosom.{81} maternal, and sleep fell on our being, soaked in the maternal effluvium.

But the night of the Andes lacks familiarity and tenderness. In the Andes there is no place for idyll, but for tragedy. Like a world that already has many millennia of death, even the memory of life has disappeared. There are no trees, no grasses, no insects, and hardly any moss. Life is already forgotten. So what does it matter whether the sun shines or night falls? The cadaverous nature of the Andes no longer counts the days, nor the millennia, and even less the ephemeral passage of the hours of light and shadow. It is a skeleton that has been definitively surrendered to eternity. He no longer cares about the days. How must days matter to infinity?

In the precarious hotel that rises above the ravine, passengers look for a way to forget where they are. The enormity of the mountains weighs too heavily on their fragile spirits, and, above all, the suggestion of that tragic nature. They look for the heat of the stove, the oblivion in the illus magazine{82}trada, the friendly conversation between cigarette smoke, keeping the windows tightly closed. Thus they manage to isolate themselves from the nature that overwhelms them, like someone sinking in a submarine. Far from the current reality, far from the place where they are, thinking about the life of the flat and sociable countries.

The moon, meanwhile, an incomplete and oblique moon, has unexpectedly risen from the mountain. The snow has taken on a fantasy sharpness. The whole sky has been purified, and the atmosphere is sifted.

The bare rocks that perch on that distant peak have recovered their reddish hue; the energetic tone of its extemporaneous color stands out furiously from the universal whiteness and this subtle transparency. It looks like a sore, a patch of wounded flesh, something whatever that reminds of life. But not. Those same rocks have died. Not even with the shroud of death do they want to dress or adorn themselves. His old death is already exempt from the first sumptuary vanities that accompany the young corpse.{83}

Nature! What became your finery, your fury, your hecatombs, your roars and your springs? At this moment the soul conceives the transience of everything, the secret of destiny that awaits us all. The Andes have already finished their mission, like the moon perhaps, like surely many stars that roll uselessly through the void. It is an inert member of that great earthly body that we are so passionate about. A notice of what is to happen later. Like this stark landscape, it will ever be the whole of Earth

In the same way that when reaching a summit the gaze is pleased to review the things that remained below, here too the mind rushes to review the history of the world. This story emerges as a synthesis, broadly speaking, in millennial processes. Seen from afar, the story is reduced to a few gestures or gestures, to a few representative names. All Babylon is synthesized in aerial gardens, in a chimerical brick tower and in the tottering figure of Nebuchadnezzar. Socrates, Plato, Anacreon … Under a blue sky we see some columns{84}made of marble, and the philosophers, like shadows of a dream, who vaguely phrase: that is only Greece. Other peoples are represented to us in a single gesture. We Normans see them rowing, all at once, heading for the loot lands. Let us see Spain in the 16th century walking with the harquebus and the pike on her shoulder, all unanimous, towards a sacrifice of sterile glory. But don’t we see the people in our memory in the same way? So-and-so is the man who laughs, and we always remember him laughing; another is the man who declaims, and we see him speaking, acting, in our imagination. Because the memory is graphic above all. Our mind is made for visible images. Intelligence, deep down, is graphic, like life, after all.

And all this will be simplified, synthesized more and more. History, process of elimination. The further we go, the far more simplified. Now we still perceive a gesture, a figure, a name: tomorrow, nothing. Until finally the world everything will be an absolute synthesis. A great{85}lifeless ball that goes around systematically. Supreme stupidity!

However, our imagination always rebels, and sees forms of life where there are none. Here, when everything is immobile and dead, the imagination still insists on representing apparent forms of life. In this way, that summit recalls the head of a pensive man, that rock looks like the back of a monster, that cloud copies the flight of a great and prodigious bird. Thus the spirit manages to fill itself with consoling deception and imagine that, even in this sinister concavity of the dead Andes, life does not cease to exist. So let us give thanks to the imagination. She envelops us with dreamy shrouds, and she is in charge of covering reason with all sorts of encouraging lies. By virtue of the imagination the living being forgets that death exists. Thanks to that protective magician we men have invented the fiction of immortality. Where reason ends with a desolate edge, there vigorously, swift, youthful, our imagination comes to suggest{86}endless distances, lies from beyond. What outside of us without those lies!

And now, may the dawn break with its clarity this delirium of the moonlit night. Let the train come to take us, heading to normal, social lands, full of pleasant lies. Go back to contemplate the trees, the flowers, the birds, the villages. Immerse ourselves in the enormous illusion of the rolling and hectic world. Forget these inert mountains, anticipation and promise of the last universal death. And enter the maelstrom of illusions, hear the maternal voice of the imagination that speaks to us of immortality.