There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

30 May 2015

Mayan shaman blessing

As we are walking along, our guide Saul explains how the land around the Cenote Maya is sacred to the Mayan people. We are heading to get a blessing from the local Shaman before we can enter the Cenote area....
Wisdom of many years is apparent on the Shaman's friendly face. As he starts his prayer, the smoke fills my nostrils and an overwhelming sense of peace washes over the group.

We raise our hands in celebration.
After the ceremony, we meet a young Mayan man dressed in warrior attire of old, and a woman in a local Mayan dress worn today. Saul cracks us up with this pose...
as we head toward the Cenote. I have chills....


27 May 2015

Ek Balam

After driving for a few hours through the dense Yucatan jungle from Cancun, we arrive to the unassuming entrance of the Ek Balam Mayan ruins.

Ek Balam is translated to mean "Bright Star Jaguar", a sacred animal to the Mayan people. Walking along the path listening to these stories of old I search for glimpses of the stealthy beast in the trees.

One can feel it's presence.

As the jungle opens to a clearing, I see my first Mayan ruin, a very beautiful arch presents itself, being connected to a sacbes (ancient road) which would have led to other Mayan kingdoms. It is through this arch that one enters the city.
The main temple of El Torre here is impressive, one of the largest structures found in the Yucatan. To the Mayan it represents a portal to another world, and a place to connect to the Mayan Gods when at it's summit.
I feel empowered as I climb the steps, sweat pouring off my brow the higher I ascend. The view is breathtaking, the wind cooling the nape of my neck as I rest on stones that supported a culture for a millenia, from 100 B.C to 900 A.D.
A good start to my days of exploring the Yucatan, and the Mayan culture.

23 May 2015

Que onda Guero? in Memphis

Crossing the Memphis sky bridge from downtown to Mud Island, thoughts going back to the first time I heard the album "Mellow Gold". My brother popped the cassette into a classic Chevy vehicular beast of some kind ( I was never a car guy), and we headed up to the mountains.
Halfway across the mighty Mississippi and I stop to listen to the sound check. Beck starts playing "Hell Yes", and the hairs on my arms tingle, the rush of adrenaline courses through me with the impending anticipation.
I find my seat next to a nice enough family of four, two daughters and their parents. The Memphis skyline lights up as the sun sets.
Let the show begin....



16 May 2015

Blues Boy King

A light rain is falling outside. The radio crackles the announcement "...in honor of the late blues player and legend, today will be known as Blues Boy King here in Memphis."

I head down to the infamous Beale Street to pay tribute to B.B King.
It sets the tone of the day perfectly. His Mississippi voice can be heard on every street corner, and it lingers as I make my way down to the banks of the mighty river and feel the past in the confederate stone walls of the Civil War.
Methodist universities and rusty cannons become my attractions in this Southern Belle, a most welcome surprise indeed.
Long live the King of the Blues.

*****

11 May 2015

Walking in the bush with Lillian

Lillian is a young female, rescued in the African bush from poachers by those that work to protect the precious animals of Africa.

Her eyes gleam with wild animal fervor as we approach.
We are told how to approach, stroking the tail, under the chin, scratching the belly like a beloved household dog. The tenuous muscles underneath the fur twitch at our touch. The breathing strong and steady.
Wild in the truest sense of the word, yet she is also loving and playful. Lillian licks my bald head and my hand with her coarse tongue. I shudder with delight.

We go walking through the bush. The cheetah's stop and prick up their ears as they hear something beyond the grove of nearby trees. Their instincts are pure, and we have to hold onto them tightly so they don't give in to the urge to run off and explore, hunt....kill.
Their is nothing quite like the feeling of holding onto a creature in which you know you have no control over, letting go your fear and trusting in the pure animal instinct.