My fire’s out, doused by the rain pecking at the tarp shell I’m hoping will keep me dry. Growing puddles of rainwater upon it are ready to spill. I keep my movements to a minimum. My fingers probe the exterior of my sleeping bag. Its surface is wet. A soaked bag would mean all bets for warmth and comfort, are off. If the rain keeps up, I’d need to rely on wet wool and a backup space blanket to wait out the night. I do my best to ensure the tarp covers me head to toe.
I’ve chosen to be here, in this extended moment, isolated and alone, my whereabouts known only by me. But for what? I don’t ask why. For me, a core tenet of the paqo wachu, as in life itself, is about surrendering to uncertainty, letting go of doubt. It’s a one-sided bargain made with the unknown, a journey that pries apart barriers to trust at whatever level those barriers are revealed, and therefore, relevant to the pilgrim’s success. Any notion of suffering is nothing more than self-pity, which has no place in Nature. Within the universe of my isolation my family and friends exist only because I believe they do. Somewhere. But where? My memories are as persistent as the rain.
I’ve been coming to this forest for close to sixty years. I’ve made an art of solitude, content to mimic birds amidst the swirling breezes with no other voices but those of the natural world. I’ve seen my parents and elder generations come and go, the ones who brought me to this place as a child. I’ve presided in ceremony over their ashes, returned to earth. I’ve breathed in their dust, carried on the wind of a summer afternoon. I, too, might as well be dead in this moment, the call to join them in spirit is so alluring. I close my eyes.
It’s got to be the wee hours by decree of how long I’ve been laying here. Or am I deceiving myself and it’s only midnight? It doesn’t matter. I’m not going anywhere until sufficient light inspires me enough to leave my cocoon, when it’s safe to travel. I peel back the tarp for an update. Seems the rain has let up. The tarp bends and crinkles as I push it aside. “Hallelujah!” I say softly, the only word I’ve spoken since nightfall.
About the Author
Painter. Writer. Musician. Teacher. Healer. Artist. Pieter is on a path to fulfill his soul’s puppeteering of his Earth walk. His mission is to enhance the beauty of this world through his creative endeavors. He’s been an initiate of the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition since 2014, having completed many advanced trainings. He has received numerous awards for his art and work as an educator.