Today was a soul quenching day. I feel myself phasing back into the timeless traveler I have been. I arrived here yesterday day on a bus from La Paz and ever since then I have felt a weight drop off my shoulders. Everything is so calm and chilled out here. It is almost as if the cool lake air quiets down all worries and cares. As I write this I am sitting at the desk in my room looking out at the sun setting on Copacabana Beach and listening to the gentle Andean music of Rumilajta.
After breakfast this morning I wandered over to the brilliantly white Basicilica Virgen de Copacabana. It dominates the center of town and has a spectacularly ornate interior. I went inside to say a short prayer for my past, present, and future. Having properly centered myself I set out wandering along the shores of the lake.
No hills for me! I wanted the breath to stay within my lungs. So I walked out past the food stalls selling their truscha, past where any other people were at all. I was bound for the farthest point visible from Copacabana. I kept walking on this dirt
path shaded by calm coniferous trees. I passed a group of Bolivian teens having a picnic on the shore. Finally I was past every living soul there was to see. Still I walked, wondering how far I could go. Eventually, my path was blocked two large cows blocked. I decided this was an omen and ambled down onto the rocky beach.
There I found myself a soft grassy patch and lounged myself out with my feet pointing toward the deep blue lake. I listened to the waves lapping, observed how the sunlight festively danced across the water, and followed the paths of a few bright yellow butterflies fluttering on the breeze. I got to thinking how this was right around the reverse winter solstice and how according to the Incas this very lake was the birthplace of the Sun and Moon. I contemplated how my sister, who died three years ago this month and who celebrated solstices more than anybody, would have loved to be here and see this for herself. I let that thought settle as I listened to the ancient rhythm of the Incas. Quite a day for the soul.
* * * Post-Script
The hillside is alive with fire tonight. It is the festival of San Juan and bonfires scorch the hills and send smoke seductively into the air. After dinner I walked up one street over, not the tourist street, but the one that the locals seem to frequent. It hummed with an other worldly energy. Faces from another time, children with fireworks in their hands, meat sizzling on small grills. Moments like that are what travel is all about. Tomorrow....Isla del Sol.
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