The jungle curtain parts and there before you stands the remains of an ancient Mayan temple. It towers above the landscape and you wonder how you didnâ€™t see it before that breathy moment of discovery. You feel the breeze on your face, hear the sounds of exotic birds, and are transported to another era. An era still surrounded in mystery and wonder, no less.
Thirteen years ago, while on our honeymoon, my husband and I visited Tikal National Park, Guatemala. To this day it remains one of my all-time favorite places on earth. The feeling you get when walking on the same paths, on the same stone steps, and seeing the same views of an ancient civilization is nearly indescribable.
Hereâ€™s a blurb from the website http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/64, â€œIn the heart of the jungle, surrounded by lush vegetation, lies one of the major sites of Mayan civilization, inhabited from the 6th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D. The ceremonial centre contains superb temples and palaces, and public squares accessed by means of ramps. Remains of dwellings are scattered throughout the surrounding countryside.â€
The reason I bring Tikal up is that an acquaintance of mine, Tami Butters, is spending a year in Guatemala teaching. Itâ€™s been a huge learning curve for her as she navigates a culture vastly different from her Minnesotan roots, but she is not only thriving she is blossoming. Tami has been keeping a blog of her adventures:
http://tamibutters.blogspot.com, and recently wrote of a side-trip to Tikal. Seeing her photographs and hearing the same excitement in her words brought back the goosebumps I felt when I was there.
Thank you, Tami, for bringing it all back, for making me melt, and for some serious jealousy pangs. It was the best part of my day.