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Espiritu santo de Machu Picchu

Fog at Machu Picchu. Photo by viiny.

Until now, I've deliberately resisted posting Machu Picchu photos. As with any breathtaking vista -- Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Pyramids at Giza -- a photo rarely does it justice. And neither do words. Of course, that never stops us from trying.

This photo, by one of my Flickr friends, Viiny, hints at the spiritual experience that many people have at the ruins. For some people, it's a new-agey thing. Like the Texans I once encountered at the top of Huayna Picchu, a nearby peak that overlooks the ruins. They were holding hands in a circle, their faces upward and eyes closed, singing "hello, hello, hellooo!" (Exactly like Moe, Larry and Curley did it in the opening credits of the Three Stooges). For others, including me, it's a quiet, but profound sense of awe and awareness of the souls who once inhabited this strange landscape. The power of the place comes not so much from what it means to me, but what it must've meant to them.

Several years ago, I hiked the Inca Trail with my brother in law Brian (another story, which I'll let him tell someday). Our last night on the trail before reaching the ruins, we camped a mile or so outside the ruins. Next morning, we woke before dawn and made our way to the Intipunku (Sun Gate), a ruin overlooking the entirety of Machu Picchu, to watch sunrise over the ruins. As luck would have it, we saw nothing but fog where the ruins should be. Aside from seeing what I took to be an omen -- an irridescent hummingbird buzzing a couple feet away from me -- I was dissapointed.

Then something appeared to move within the fog itself. We watched as, in the space of no more than two minutes, the fog pulled in from the edges and condensed into a single cloud, which then quickly rose skyward, revealing the pristine ruins beneath it. It was as if they knew we were coming and had gift wrapped the ruins for us to open with our eyes.

Señor Don Ball Carbajal. Le escribo para comunicarle que le he puesto como enlace recomendado en mi blog, dentro de la seccion Bookmarks por su buen hacer en su sitio web.

Quería preguntarle sobre lo que usted dijo de Chabuca Granda y la Cancion Criolla. Ya que compartimos esta admiracion por la musica acristalada de Chabuca, me gustaria que me proporcionase mas nombres de aquella cancion criolla que usted vea relevantes.

Gracias por la atencion
y un saludo

Thank you for posting this photo anyway! I have heard so many stories about Machu Picchu but have never seen a good photo. This one and the story is great!
Reading your words i remembered mine experience. I was at Intipunku on the first morning of 1997, i slept there. Looking through that white curtain, when it opened i saw Machu Picchu from the first time. Unforgetable experience.

A place with layers on the soul,
but with the precise transparency to
give permission for what we must see.
I love the Andes.

Thanks for this wonderful picture and thoughts :)
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