Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Nasca Lines

The woman next to her fumbled frantically in bad need of something.

“I’m sorry, I think I took yours.” She realized, then fished behind the seat’s interior, the hidden belt buckle.

“Oh, it doesn’t matter, we’ll all crash and die anyway.” The woman said with an australian accent.

The Cessna 172 had been revving its engine on the tarmac for 5 minutes – a dragonfly on rocket fuel. She felt in communion with her cabin mates – one next to her, two within arms reach in the next row. The exhaust fumes coiled inside the postage stamp cabin – bodies in a mosaic of contact, knees on chair, elbows on elbows, headsets on earlobes. From her seat, she studied the backs of the pilot and the co-pilot  – two men cramped inside the cockpit, one with his muscular arm hugging the other’s chair – setting course for the flight’s destination – Peru’s mysterious geoglyths, the Nasca lines.

Inside the headset, the flight clearance was released in Spanish. The Cessna was now on the runway, picking up speed, moving faster, the propulsion of a roller coaster, the pressure over her heart. She wanted to hold the Australian woman’s hand but was too embarrassed to ask. It was too late. Catapulting upward on an imaginary trampoline, the plane slid onto the currents of the super airway, a fizzy stick kindled in her stomach.

She couldn’t help but giggle. For the first time in her life, she released whatever she clung to - felt the exhilaration in her body as she let go the imprints of fingers on chair. A schoolgirl again, she covered her mouth, holding back the laughing fit.

From the window, the landscape unfolded in sepia. It overwhelmed her, the dry arid desert, the sparse palms and green dabs, the crevices of ancient rivers – as if tears evaporated over running sand centuries ago. This was another world – dramatic and breathtaking. The quest for the sacred markings left by the Nasca shaman. Of course, the shaman did not need technology to see the aerial line drawings, some the size of football fields. A celebration to the cosmos in the shape of a spider, monkey and condor.

As the wings tipped downward, the first sharp turn that released both adrenaline and nausea, something transcendent was happening. The desert, the motion of sun particles, twilight, flight – it all left her intoxicated. As she glanced at the first shape below, both hands on window, the whale etched in time, she realized that she was so grateful for it all. Up from a bird’s view, she realized that she was graced with so much love – so much more to see and experience in the world…

traces of ancient rivers
tree and hands
about to land

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