Thinking of the Mayans on the Solstice

In honor of the Winter Solstice, here is a little taste of our recent trip to the Mayan city of Tikal.

7 Dec 14 0-Dark-30

We got up at 0-Dark-30 today, literally. 0330. In order to take the sunrise tour at Tikal, we met in the hotel lobby at 0350. We walked in the dark, under a full moon, with flashlights, for about 45 minutes and climbed 200 wooden stairs up to Temple IV. Then we sat in the dark and waited for the jungle to wake up and the sun to rise. It would have been meditative if not for the loud American girl talking/flirting with a German guy. He spoke in a low voice, but we could hear her every utterance. Ignoring her, I got into my zen and sat in the dark fog, waiting and thinking about the Maya. How did they possibly build these huge temples without metal tools, the wheel, or any modern equipment or engineering? Who once sat up here before dawn, waiting for the light?

 

image

Slowly the sky brightened and we could see a few distant temples begin to take shape. We could see the trees below us. More and more light, less fog. We could hear birds and monkeys and see the restored monuments as islands floating in the fog. We didn’t see the beauty of a pink, orange and lavender sunrise but we saw the park wake up all the same. Our first view of Tikal was one that incrementally appeared from the darkness. It was magic.

 

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