SUNDOWN ON FERNANDINA
Fernandina is the westernmost, and the youngest island of the Galápagos archipelago. It is made of stark, rugged volcanic lava – an otherworldly scape. On it roams creatures out of the depths of time – iguanas clustering, sea turtles in the shallows, flightless cormorants framed on the horizon… At day’s end, after all the human eavesdroppers have left, and the sun begins to spread its red over the sky, what goes on in this very isolated, very non-anthropological world fascinates me considerably. What goes on here when no humans are looking? Something must be going on. Do the creatures converse on the day's events? Does a very old iguana at water's edge say to a sea turtle pup what would be the equivalent of "Look baby, what a beautiful sky!"? What goes on that has gone on each evening of evolution?
As you move away from the island and look at the sky over it - dotted now with only a few unhurried, circling birds sated from the feeding frenzies of a while ago - you get a sense again of looking at an alien world – not extraterrestrial this time, but extra-human. And in it a strange limitlessness – limitless because there is nothing in human experience or imagination that can put a frame around this view. Nor can the sea. Nor the sky.
I shall never forget Fernandina sunset, even though I never took a picture of it.