Atlas Mountains, Morocco * November 2014 * 35mm
The biblical and nomadic image of being able to pack up one’s tent and steal away is the spiritual meaning here. We are not tied to any one place, but can move to where we need to be at short notice, thus satisfying the requirements of the wanderer and the ascetic.
If you’re lucky, you’ll make indoor forts and tents beginning at an early age. You’ll get creative and make pre-fab tipis to easily transport the magic. You’ll set them up inside the house. And outside under orange trees on warm LA nights. You’ll brainstorm ways on how to furnish and illuminate them. You’ll read in them. Nap in them. If you’re lucky and your parents are overly confident in their tiptoeing abilities, you’ll sleep in a tent by the fireplace on Christmas Eve to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus. You’ll hide in tents when your parents fight. If you’re mature enough, you’ll grow up constructing these make-shift refuges in college bunks and Chilean hostels. You’ll bond fiercely with girlfriends who appreciate your tent skills. You’ll collect tapestries from your travels around the world, and you’ll imagine crafting one giant canopy made out of Spain, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Ecuador and Mexico. One day. If you’re lucky.
If you’re very lucky, you’ll have an older sister who will invite you on a business trip to Morocco—LAND EXTRAORDINAIRE OF POP-UP TENTS—and you’ll pack weeks in advance, ready to go. You’ll disappear in the souk of Marrakesh, grazing fingertips on piles of dazzling rugs. (How lovely they would look in a tent!) And before the week is up, before the clock strikes 12, before the magic is lost, you’ll venture into the Atlas Mountains to an enchanting Berber village, where the locals still harvest olives by hand and prepare olive oil in a dark, damp cavern. And where, waiting on a mountain, the most spectacular tent will greet you. With mint tea and a view. But only if you’re lucky. Very, very lucky.