Peru. Looking back. Looking forward.

Hasta luego.  Posible manana.  Things are not easy here in this complicated land.  There are unearthed layers of history.  Stratas of human life buried beneath the Spaniard’s churches, beneath the Incan temples and cities, beneath the jungled roots of ancient coco trees and ancient grasses.  “Marble,” our guide told us, “is the crushed bones of fish.”  How deep the history.

I have said goodbye to you before, Peru.

Andean flutes.  Pachamama.  Hummingbird. Turtle. Fox. Water whistling jars.  Replicas de los indigenous gente mas milenias - before Los Incas.  Saying hello to the Incan woman mummy.  Marcella. Chocolate tea. La mujer de Chili.  Buying sweaters.  Taking music home in my heart.  “Melodia de Corazon,” said the musician brothers.  “Melodia de Corazon.”  The sugar mills, the plantations, the brick makers - they needed the fat of the Indios to grease their machines. 

Each step taken in this place, during these twelve days, is a step that passes over what has come before.  Here, look at this stone, think of what lies beneath.  

Maybe that is why I asked, so often, “How do you say this in Quechua?  How do you say that in Quechua?”  I wanted to hear words whose rhythms and sounds were older than your cobbled streets, older than these cathedrals, older than these thatched roofs.
“Where does sound go?” I once asked myself.  Does the earth beneath these Spanish streets and these Inca trails hold the memories?  Is it stained with the blood of los indios? Of los llamas y alpacas?
Perhaps I always leave Peru with more questions than answers.  My eyes have seen things – a feast of colors.  My ears – a feast of sounds.  My fingers – a feast of texture.  Peru?  A land where even history walks the streets.  And manana?  Tomorrow I return.  


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