We are dripping down into the amazon, trickling like little waters to their source…although….
although! This is not our home. We feel this intimately in this beautiful place. A place 1/7 of the earth’s surface area containing 50% of the earth’s biodiversity. WoW!! As an earth lover, I am so excited to be a part of this ecosystem for a while. Excited, and terrified.
You see, as an earth lover, I have traversed many climates, and, as an explorer, I have learned how to live or at least spend time in most of them: just me, my sleeping bag, pad and sometimes a tent. Yet dropping down from 5,000 m to a much lower, sweatier, dense and wet altitude does things to a body, to a mind. And I learn that the jungle is a powerful place, just as mountain climates are powerful places…
Our bus from Cusco took about 17 hours due to landslides and waiting, for who knows what- there isn’t usually a lot of communication. I was, surprisingly, able to sleep more than usual on this overnight bus, but Ini had a really hard time. With headaches, diarrhea, nausea… Plus, there was no bathroom on the bus. Yes, I peed in a bottle and I won’t mention what ini had to do into a bottle because the bus driver wouldn’t stop, even when we told him we had an emergency.
But I do not write this to complain about the bus system- we’ve learned to live with it, slow down in our travel or splurge for first class. I write to demonstrate the power of the jungle and the feeling I receive from this place that I am very small.
You see, as I mentioned earlier, I can hold my own and enjoy most climates, but there is an innate sense in me that the selva, the jungle, This Place is not a place for me to be winging it, out in the open, or out after dark, in the rain. There is a feeling that just by being here, I am growing myself in humbleness, as I understand my limits and grow in respect for earth, the power of nature and how humans have adapted to this climate- it gives me great respect for them, too.
Travel is such an amazing thing, as I am also able to see beyond so much of my conditioning, which is really just entrenched patterns and habits and thoughts about “the way things are”. These are able to be loosened in the face of other ways and belief systems, and this helps me be not solely an American from Indiana, but a child of the earth, beyond this. One thing still remains: a deep love and thanks for the earth. A rejoicing in the beauty of all that lives here with us and the sheer gift of water, viewing the beauty of plants and flowers, mountains and rivers, etc, and taking a big breath of fresh air.
When I came to Peru, I wasn’t sure how I would find the people. I came here to integrate Pachamama (mother earth who provides for us all and from whom we have our being, literally) from their ancient cultures, yet Would the people also honor pachamama still- or Would they also be caught up in the disease of the West, so often full of gain and greedy consumption beyond earth limits?
I have seen both here- people directly sucking the tits of the mama, relying on her directly for clothing, food, house materials, guidance, and nurturance… And, mostly in the cities, an abundance of divorce from the earth, a seeking after other things – electronics, cars, motorcycles, fancier, candies, coca cola, clothes, more professional houses.. And, as we know from experience, this brings pollution and toxic streets and consciousness. The cycle continues- Hollywood, after all, is blasted on nearly TV screen… The American way, capable through money and fantasy living with the things of the earth which truly are not sustainable and usually promote degradation as primary (necessary?) outcome, stretches into the minds of the children of the earth in nearly every place, filling them with never before mentioned or thought of desires and wants.
What this reality brings to me is my own Earth centered vision (the earth’s earth centered vision ;)?)….. I see this in my own country too and I can directly speak to it. It calls me again and again, through my love, understating and deeeep appreciation of her beauty- to love the earth through voice and action and to create beauty, speak up for water, relish in the diversity, heart opening beauty and gifts from my own country and wherever I find myself. This is my focus.
So as I step into an amazonian retreat for a time, taking part in Amazonian plants, breathing in and sweating out the air and moisture, listening to this very powerful voice of the jungle, I give thanks! For this next step in my personal myth, my reason for being. It is directly tied to the earth, this much I know, and my heart leads me into the rest.
Thanks to Pachamama, and blessings and strength and clarity to all the children of the earth. May we have clean water to drink straight from the source and fresh air… And if not for us, let us prepare it for our children. Unto the 7th generation.