Arrival and Departure

Arrival and Departure June 19, 2019


Cusco back alley
A back alley in Cusco (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


I don’t know whether I’ll ever be back to the Peruvian Amazon.  Perhaps not.  Probably not.  It’s odd to think such a thing, but it’s true.  When you’re twenty, the future is limitless.  You have all the time in the world.  Endless possibilities.  When you’re in the vicinity of a hundred and twenty, though, as I am, you realize that the future is bounded.  You likely won’t be president.  You probably won’t play professional football.  The Nobel Prize in Physics is probably out of reach.  There are more things to do than you’ll ever be able to do.  Some things you’ll never do again.  Some places you’ll never see again.  And, for me, the Peruvian Amazon is very possibly one of those places.


This is one of the reasons that I can’t understand why some people claim that they have no desire for immortality.  There are so many sights to see, so many things to experience, so many things to learn, and there’s so little time.


I find that melancholy.  But if I didn’t believe in everlasting life, I would find it almost unendurably sad.


It also strikes me, sometimes, that there are people whom I’ll never see again.  Our guide in the Peruvian rainforest, for example – Percy – was a very important part of our lives for several days.  We came to like and appreciate him.  We learned a fair amount about him.  When we said goodbye to him at the airport in Iquitos, he said that he hoped to see us again.  But the odds of that are very low.  He will go on with his life and we’ll all go on with ours, quite separately.


Friends to whom I was very close in high school and in college are now off on their own, as I am.  They seemed essential to my life, but now we’re living completely apart.


Intuitively, however, I’ve always strongly suspected that these endings won’t (in the, umm, end) be so final as they seem to be from the perspective of mortality.  And memories won’t fade, and faded memories will be restored.


New things keep coming our way, though, even as the past recedes.


You may well have deduced by now that we’ve arrived in Cusco, high in the Andes.  At well over 11,000 feet.


Formerly the imperial capital of the Incas, it’s a dramatic contrast to the Amazon rainforest.  I’ve been here once before, but it’s been a very long time since then.  The air is thin and brisk, and the city, in its central area, at least, is remarkably picturesque.  Some traces of Inca stone construction remain, but the overall feeling is colorfully Spanish colonial.  Our hotel, the Ramada Costa del Sol, is extremely charming.  And it has good WiFi!


Written in Lima, Peru, but posted from Cusco



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