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Mayan Laguna Alters

The dust from the windy road flew through my hair as we made our way up to Lake Chicabal. A lake placed right in the center of an unactive volcano. A place so tranquil that once spewd lava changing its surrounding landscape. As we arrived at the lake, lush trees and shimmering water that were crystal clear immediately grabbed my attention. We began to walk around the lake. Mayan alters planted in the ground stood still in front of the slowly moving water. I anxiously stayed a few feet away from the waters edge to make sure that I would not contaminate the sacred water. I continued to walk in silence. Suddenly, an overwhelming feeling, almost haunting, took over my body. In front of me stood a group of about 20 people chanting different prayers at the same time. The chaotic noise became melodic, making the sacred place feel like a place for the people.

I finished my loop around the lake, passing the gift of flowers and decorations floating in the water. Suddenly, a white mist came tumbling down the crisp bluebird sky. It engulfed the lake. The clouds met like a closing curtain blanketing the lake in a protective layer of cold milky air. Those who stood before me disappeared into the mist, leaving me alone in the cloud. As I looked across the lake, unable to decipher the differences between water and air, my heart began to skip and my breath became shallow. Something about this holy place and the combination of the elements overwhelmed me, making me see everything and nothing all at the same time. Never would I be able to experience this moment of unfamiliar spirituality and curiosity of the world around me ever again. This was the moment in time that made me understand the significance at being present. Because if you don’t live in the moment, you will miss out on temporary magic.

Instructor note: After the lake, we spent the day on reforestation. Your kids are experts at weeding now! Tomorrow we will hear more about the Chico Mendes project, and head off to San Juan La Laguna.