Any journey is as important as its destination. But since my first trek home from the
hospital after I was born, I have been a horrid passenger. If I am not driving I need
to be asleep or else concentrating furiously on something besides all the swirling
butterflies in my tummy. So our August journey started like all the others: an early
morning walk to the bus station in time to catch the first bus out of town; catnaps and
eyes-closed pondering (Hotel? Rain? Food? Souvenirs for Mother?) until the moment when
Marco finally said “We’re here!”
“Here” was a drop-off point right outside one of the entrance gates to the ancient
complex we had come to visit. We asked about a hotel and followed the ring road as
directed. There had been rain in the night. The road was wet, the large trees screening
the complex on our left were still dripping, mist rose around us as the sun flexed its
muscles. We quickly reached the street leading to the town where we had been told we
could find a brand new hotel. I looked off to the left now that there were no more big
trees in the way.
AND THERE THEY WERE!! The Pyramid Of The Sun and The Pyramid Of The Moon. My eyes tried
to say “Mountains” but my brain said “Nope, man-made”. My heart said “Feel their age,
their power even from here”. And my soul said “I am home”. All within a split second.
From that moment I was under the spell of Teotihuacan. The enchantment only increased
after we registered at the hotel, flung our packs into the room and hurried back to the
entrance gate to buy our day tickets and begin our trip through time.
We had promised ourselves no museums on the first day of this first visit. We wanted to
absorb where we were: for our senses to feel, not for our brains to think. As we walked
across the grand plazas and along the ancient streets, we seemed to have one foot in
the present and the other in a dim but lively past. Were we really here for the first
time…..or were we returning at last to a place we left thousands of years ago?
I was hypnotized by the Temple Of Quetzatcoatl and thrilled by the welcoming dance of a
group of butterflies at the top of The Pyramid Of The Sun. But the very instant I took
my first step into the Plaza Of The Moon, I was electrified by the true energy source
of Teotihuacan. The perfectly balanced plaza vibrates with power, and The Pyramid Of
The Moon seemed to breathe beneath my feet as I climbed the steep steps.
From the top of the lower level, as high as the public was allowed to go, I could see
the entire magnificent city stretching into the distance. There was a sacrifice in
progress on the altar in the plaza below, with a small crowd watching silently. Priests
chanted as they climbed the Pyramid Of The Sun. Merchants shouted their wares in the
market corners. Builders worked on various palaces, while small boys practiced their
jaguar calls, sometimes sounding more like choking ducks than fierce jungle cats.
Then my vision shifted back to the present. The victims on the altar became teenagers
clowning for their cameras. Chanting priests became laughing tourists, merchants turned
back into souvenir vendors. The builders were workmen arranging a screen around a new
dig site. And the small boys? Well, small boys are the same no matter what era they
live in: these were practicing with their new clay whistles and discovering that the
call of the jaguar is not as easy to reproduce as the vendors make it seem.
I came down from the Pyramid Of The Moon feeling the presence of The Old Ones around
me, escorting us through the crowds of people from all over the world. Did these other
tourists feel what Marco and I felt? Teotihuacan is a powerful place. Surely we were
not the only ones touched to the core by its magic. I do know we were lucky enough to
have two more days to explore; and we had no guides rushing us madly through any of our
experiences. We would visit the museums, walk about the grounds, climb the Pyramids
again, sit listening to whispers from antiquity, feel the caress of ancient winds on
our faces. And we would promise The Old Ones that we would return sooner next time.
August 22, 2014