12.24.2012 - 12.24.2012
I promised my new Colombian friends Luz Vivian and Luz Mery that I would write about them. Luz Vivian requested that I say they are two small girls from Cali who walk slowly, but I would like to say that they are not so slow, and anyway why is everyone else in such a rush? Certainly in the faster group I did not hear as much laughter and excitement as I heard when we passed them, and certainly also in my rush to keep up with the others I had too little time to take pictures and be glad of where I was.
I'm actually enjoying the trek much more than I thought I would. It hasn't been the most comfortable journey, and yet the discomfort has been interesting. Yesterday, for example, we hiked down through a river of mud in a torrential downpour, the fluorescent dusk lit by lightning and the water everywhere--flowing down my arms and through my shoes. Chris slipped in the mud, streaking clay all up his arm, but he was too far gone to do anything but laugh. I laughed, too, remember how unwilling I was to drench my sneakers in a puddle of water in Roatan, and here I was happily squelching through ankle-deep mud. As Miguel advised, the only way down was to get our feet wet. I sang Christmas songs for a while but then grew quiet as the light expired, and it grew more and more difficult to discern horse manure from mud, much less find a safe foothold. The others came in when it was fully dark, and some of them were not pleased. I was a bit astonished, too, to find ourselves in that situation on a guided tour. But a dangerous moment passed without mishap becomes an adventure. (Chris would scoff at "dangerous.")
When I walk through the jungle I cannot help thinking that this place alone proves that Colombia is a beautiful country. And then I think the tour--its expensiveness, its touristy-ness--was worth it, for this glimpse of mist-shrouded mountains, peak heaped upon peak of quiet blue-green beauty, not untouched all right, but surely with its spirit intact, undominated, which is no scientific description I admit but which is ultimately all I'm capapble offering, this pre-lingual stirring that (since I found myself an atheist) is the closest I come to spirituality.