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Machu Picchu

By , Austin, TX
The journey to Machu Picchu is not one you can grasp by looking at a picture, or reading a novel.
In a way, it is similar to pop rocks -
from afar seemingly enticing, but it is not until they are completely enveloped in you that you recognize the sheer force with which they come alive.

If you insist that the trinkets of Aguas Calientes were enough for you;
that you’re a non-conformist; put off by the swarms of tourists,
it won’t be respect I feel for you, nor understanding,
rather a deep and overwhelming sadness.

As you begin to delve into the wide terraces, you will become mesmerized by the air itself.
The powerful grey stone will beat against you softly -
your body will feel the land.
Do not reach into your pocket to grab a cellphone or camera,
spend your efforts truly viewing your surroundings.
I promise you, your eyes won’t lose this image.

Arrive early so that you can avoid the lines to climb Huayna Picchu; you won’t want to miss it.
As you climb through the brush, bring a guide.
They will explain the history of the mountain, the genus and species of each sprouting bud.
You won’t remember it the next day,
but in the moment it will seem enchanting.

When you reach a point where you’re able to view the entirely of Machu Picchu -
notice the silence.
Do not break it; it is sacred.
Take this moment to reflect on the past, on the infinite beauties history presents to us.
It is here you will develop a respect for the Incas, the Peruvians, and for the human population as a whole.
Treasure this as a pearl amongst a sea of coal,
you will soon yearn to relive this moment again.

Do not let your mind wander to 1572, never dwell on the tragedy of invasion, conquest, and disease.
Let your mind only wander to 1450 - the height of the Incan empire.
Take this opportunity to close your eyes and imagine yourself among the Incan people:
explore the noble houses,
whisper a prayer at the Sun Temple,
mourn at the Funerary Rock.
There is no need to kiss the ground, but please recognize that this is what the ground deserves.





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