No one really warned me or told me that Peru is pretty much all mountains. The sacred valley reminds me of the mountains of the west coast and the peaks and valleys of the rainforest remind me of the east coast. I mean in reality the country is so large of course it’s not mountains everywhere but existence is in the valleys and now I understand how deforestation of the rainforest appears.
On this journey between Pucallpa to Tarapoto we ride up north through the rainforest so obviously I get a higher viewpoint of the rainforest rather than the river boat level experience of following the river north to Iquitos. I think next time I come I would like to spend some time on the river but this time Tarapoto is the destination. I am happy about this as I heard going to Iquitos is a sacred war hell. Good and evil duking it out for the resources of the divine rainforest. No thank you! That is not my journey this time. I much rather just go 20+ hours up the river from Pucallpa and enjoy the lower region of the rainforest some more. People are quite humble there and I didn’t feel as though my energy had to be guarded from advances to join such and such “shaman” on an experience I could pay thousands to drink their sacred brew. I also heard in Iquitos you have the corporations and other poachers there to get into the rainforest and a black market…ok I would go just to see what the fuck people have at that market, just to say I’ve seen it but knowing me it would hurt my heart and I much rather have a better grip on my Spanish. Anyway I digress…
The rainforest here reminds me so much of the East Coast of America. Lush green hills with large jungle trees, vines, and a plethora of plant flora. Everything is in a fresh late spring wet bloom of glory. The drops between the moutain stone into the road create miniature waterfalls that flow into the road and off the other side of the mountain into the expansive lower region of the hill and off into the great river. This reminds me so much of the little waterfalls in the hills of Vermont in late spring. The clouds loom into the valleys as the hills peak out for as far as the eye can see.
Parts were lush and so diverse and then the other parts of this journey show how deforestation and farming killed off the diverse flora. Just like in the states, they plow down what exists in the valley and put farms, grass, animals herding. A vast difference from those who lived in the rainforest and had their horse tied to the front door. I do not think one is better than the other just an observation.
5 more hours until we arrive at our destination. With 15hrs under my belt I am getting good at kirtan because I keep playing the same playlist over and over again.
Once upon a time a little girl was born into the land of the living. Her parents were from the hoods of their youth, growing up tough, strong and beating out odds of an existence on the street, dead or living confined lives of the ghetto poor lifestyle. Learning that it is a mentality not a destination in life. Lucky for them their parents cared and demanded excellence at all cost. One day in the park they met and went out dancing together, explored mountainous regions, and decided against all odds in the 70s that being a black woman and a white male, love can reign supreme. Moving out into a rural/suburban planned community they embarked upon the life they always thought was ideal for raising kids into the world. This little girl born to them and the following son was their best creation in the world. They taught them how to walk the streets of the suburban landscape as if they were on the streets of the ghetto. Life lessons, how to read the streets, how to observe strangers and friends. How to walk invisible through police presence, respect elders, and keep their heads held high. This girl learned the paths in the woods, how the streams and rivers moved, watched the changing plants and trees through all the seasons as she walked with her dogs deep into the unknown paths. Spending hours alone getting lost in Mother Nature bare footed wading through the waters to find perfect spots to read books on adventures, mysteries, and her favorite topic, death, dying, and living with real pain.
She found solace in this solo lifestyle as her parents didn’t allow her to watch TV, go to others houses, the mall, or activities they thought were pointless and against learning, love, and enlightenment. “Go explore outside, take the dog for a walk, read a book, stay home and learn how to love yourself,” her parents would say when she would ask to hang with friends. It didn’t matter that they wouldn’t let her go most of the time, she scared most people her age anyway. She knew too much, wandered too far, was too strong, and didn’t follow the leaders in petty school groups. She only had respect for her elders, parents, Mother Nature, and herself…. In that order.
Days and years go by filled with winning sport matches, riding bikes into the ground, and avoiding abuse from her father. Her parents split because in her eyes, they were both so stubborn and in love they couldn’t see past the others faults and they fought over everything. She vowed to always love everyone no matter what their faults. She took refuge in the arms of her grandmother, a strong black woman who spent most days in deep meditation, conversing with Angels, and in deep reflection on truth and prayer. Weeks go by in the ghetto of DC and this little girl hated being away from the woods, she could never go outside so she began to make up lands, sit in hours of meditation with her grandma, and pray…pray for the day when she could go see the whole world. Not just visit the mountains of New York and Virginia but the mountains of the world, the oceans, and other places she only read about but felt like she had been to before.
Through all this time, family pain, responsibilities, and this ongoing pressure to be the best she put on a facade at school and to her peers. They didn’t understand how lonely she felt. It was beginning to overwhelm her everyday existence and she contemplated dying. She wasn’t afraid of death, saw it as a way out of this world, how can someone have so much love and be so alone? So strong yet so weak? Lucky for her most people who want to die have a stronger urge to find happiness and she thought this must be why I want to die…there is so much desire to be more than what is “real.” This girl is blessed with Angels and guardians and some elders noticed her wisdom and asked her to become a peer counselor. To help others who are feeling just as lost and this selfless work saved the little girl. She also stopped caring what others thought and tried out for cheerleading knowing she was gonna kill herself anyway so who cares what they thought. Surprisingly she made the team and this finally was the first time in life others depended on her besides herself and family. A new sense of purpose was ignited in her soul and she began to heal.
Now it couldn’t really be a fairy tale if this girl didn’t meet her knight and shining armor! She spent her days always with the boys, feeling more comfortable on the field playing or outside jumping in streams than in a dress but she would daydream of the day she would meet her love. The one she could experience truth, deep understanding, and sexual desires. She saved herself for this one, never really going farther than a peck on the lips with other boys. Lucky for her he came, this beautiful boy who loves to wander in the woods, bike all over the place, had a real sense of adventure, would listen to her deeply, share poetry, and didn’t try to rush her into anything physical. Time seemed to stand still and her heart felt so full. She found another who roamed the earth with similar desires and questioned the world. All her desires were met on every level possible. Unfortunately life isn’t a fairy tale and events happened that pulled them apart but she never gave up hope that there are others out there in the world, strong, beautiful, and proud to have a girl by their side that could handle her own and speak truth.
Little did she know that there were so many broken men in the world and little did she realize how much the loss of her best friend and love of her life would send her in a tailspin of a sort of dark ages. Booze became her best friend and after a night of being raped by a weak ass man did she dive deeper into the abyss of alcoholism and self-suicide. What’s to stop her? She wanted to die before so why not now? How can she live love when pain always finds its way into the hearts of those who only want to be love? She didn’t know it then but her guardian angles kept eyes on her, of course, isn’t that how fairy godmothers work in fairy tales?
She met the most beautiful physical representation of a guardian angel one evening as she was puking her brains out, trashed in her dorm room looking like hell. This girl came in with a halo of golden hair and heart full of love. Together they embarked upon the deepest bond two solo traveling female wanders could ever imagine. She was saved again! Life had meaning, purpose. Yet all good things come to an end and although they are best friends to this day, the separation of land masses makes it difficult to up and runaway with your bestie at a drop of a hat.
But that’s ok. Remember this little girl is strong, independent, and although her heart feels pain and is alone she never really feels alone. Every time she hit rock bottom in the next couple of years she only rose up out of the ashes of her burnt life style like Phoenix ready to burn brighter than before. Learning and understanding why she wishes for death! It is not in the physical but for the death of old patterns, limiting beliefs, and pain. So she can rise up higher than before and soar in the air with the wind beneath her wings. Feeling free to fly even farther to see the world and share love. Love is what heals pain and so she made this her purpose in life. To learn how Mother Earth heals her habitants so she can spread the love only Pachamama knows how to give and accept the pain of life only the way Pachamama can. Transforming pain through death, burning down the hurt, and lifting up the vibration of love.
Photo by: Drew Xeron
Sometimes this is a very lonely path. One not easily walked and so she still sits and wonders when she shall fly side by side with a man who shares the same purpose. To realize love transcends the social connotations, that love is allowing the wings of our soul to take flight, fly free from being in a cage and defines their heart by the path of truth. To realize that only true strength and humility comes from living in vulnerability. But ultimately she surrenders this idea and walks strong and true into her purpose to live happily ever after through pain, vulnerability, with unconditional love of all her brothers and sisters in all physical manifestations of existence.
Photo by: Drew Xeron