Ship’s log – astral date 20.16: Valle della Luna – Valley of the Moon

The glaciations of the quaternary period. Ah, those were the times!

Nature followed its course and left behind a trail of granite boulders, like the bread crumbs in the story of Hansel and Gretel. You can check for yourself, just take a trip to the area of Aggius, on the Moon. No, this isn’t sci-fi, but tourism: indeed Aggius is in the Province of Sassari, in the Gallura region (so not far from Alghero) and the Moon we’re talking about is the Valley of the Moon, also known as the Piana dei Grandi Sassi, Plain of the Great Stones.

This is a flat area interspersed with Cyclopean granite rocks set in the intense greenery of heather, cyst and cork oaks. Over millions of years the wind and rain have worked mightily to mould these masses into smooth shapes which now it is up to us to interpret and decipher. Not that the stone has any need of our creative talents, our symbolism, our fiction. On the contrary, it is we who need the stone to obtain a sufficiently solid base on which to base our conviction that this world possesses a shape suitable to receive us and our expectations of reality.

The Valley of the Moon at Aggius is like a playground in which we can exercise our imagination and make it cling to any surface. The sensation of being intruders as we enter this immense silence, amongst those imposing stone giants is almost oppressive, to the point that to lessen the sensation we attempt to give a more familiar sense to the shapes all around us. Here, for example, is a rock which looks like a gaping mouth ready to devour something; another looks like a frog readying for a leap; in yet another we discover the face of a man with a very large, bulbous nose. And what about that line of five rocks which look like toes on a foot? Great heavens, we thought we had wandered into a world which didn’t register our presence in any way, and yet we have ended up by making friends with a piece of granite!

We are truly obstinate lichens, we humans, playfully clinging to the unchippable surface of things!

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