Ravelo Municipality

The shades of red! That’s what steals my attention as we turn a curve and I see Yurubamba, the first roadside community that comes into view in the municipality of Ravelo. In fields bursting with produce, there are also wonderful greens, some white, purple, and a little gold. But it is the red of adobe houses and terra cotta roofs, of the rows of quinoa royal that surround potato fields, sown to keep the animals out, of the wind-carved faces in the mountain backdrop, and most importantly of the well-worked soils, that dominate the view. So striking! How the red draws me back. And yet when I look to my notes of a decade ago, red plays a rather minor role in my descriptions of the Ravelo landscape. How could I have missed such a vivid colour? Was I so preoccupied with the vegetation and crops that I missed the stuff they grow in? Maybe the deeply weathered soils attract me now because in the interim, I have come to learn so much more about the incredible diversity of their microorganisms that offer life to the seeds they husband. Maybe the soil should claim the label of the first link in the food chain.

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