September 20, 2012

3 Ancient Roads, Part 1

When  I go off on trips I am not one to plan them with an overarching relationship. While I was sitting around the house with my bunged up foot "elevated and iced" I was open to reflection and began to see some connections which I wished to share and think about with you.
First in late February early March my husband and I were volunteering in the highlands of Guatemala. (Something we have enjoyed doing the past 6 years). After we had completed our volunteering we explored various parts of Guatemala we had not seen. I had always wanted to see Mayan temples ever since I worked at the Denver Art Museum around its fabulous Meso American collection. The DAM has one of the most wonderful and beautiful Central American art collections in the world. We drove with a few friends to a small temple area called Mixco Viejo. This is between Guatemala City and La Antigua around and up a lot of windy roads.
The only entry into the area of Mixco Viejo is up a narrow trail that made the area easy to defend. Until that is, 1525 when the Spaniard Pedro Alvarado's laid siege and secretly entered an unguarded back entry. This gave rise  to the motto beware of the "Danger Within",that supposedly many Mayan families remember today. I wondered at the 100's of Mayans that had trod this path to enter onto the plateau of temples arranged above their farm lands. Had they carried the sticks and branches I see them carrying today through this narrow portal to  light signal fires?

The priests had to climb high and vertically to reach the summit and lay their fires. 

These ancients were experts in masonry as is witnessed by these walls of  ball court stadiums.

Today the quiet walls look over fields and earth as they did for 100's of  years before.

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