31 • The Bell Stone

31 • The Bell Stone

Argentina; Stone, wood, silver, leather, string
89 × 16 cm

‘From the heights of the Andes, the monte spreads out below like a green ocean, for up in the mountains a tree is nothing short of a miracle. In my perambulations through these highlands, without a suggestion of shade at over 4,000 meters above sea level, I came across an abandoned hut, so old and run-down that not even a ghost would deign to dwell in it. Patches of whitewashed clay framed a doorway, and hanging next to it a black stone shone in the sunlight. Suddenly, a gnarled old man appeared as if from nowhere. ‘A shaman,’ I thought, to explain the unexplainable, and as silence is the remit of the wise I pointed at the black stone in order to say something: ‘What is that for?’ I asked. He smiled kindly and in a flowing and elegant motion, stooped to pick up a pebble from the ground and struck the hanging stone, releasing a ringing sound that echoed around the ruin, transforming it instantly into an invisible cathedral. ‘This was once our prayer sanctuary and this our bell. Much time has passed since those days and nobody comes here anymore. If you care to please take it with you, it would be nice to have it ring again, for our eternal winds to be heard once more.’

– Ricardo Paz