When you told your father your fears, he refused to listen.
‘Of course we must cut down trees. My father farmed this land, and his father before him for sixteen generations. Look at the pottery I give you, the fine woven cloth. Do we not prosper? It is what we have always done when we needed more land.’
You went out past lush fields in the lower Ica Valley, where crops of maize and cotton and squash thrived, watered by underground aqueducts. Your father must be right. Your Nazca people were blessed.
You climbed up to the high plateau and walked the ritual pathways around the giant figures of humming birds and monkeys and spiders, magic emblems to keep you safe.
But this time, when El Niño hit, your land had no protection. The last huarango trees with their deep roots were gone. The fragile soil was swept away, along with your irrigation systems.
You tried to start again, but the harvests failed. War raged until the very last of your people died.
For one-and-a-half thousand years the Nazca were forgotten, until the day the first aeroplane crossed the desert, and passengers looked down in wonder at the mysterious figures you had etched into the silent, inhospitable desert.
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