Travel Songs Update
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journals, 1000 plus photos, several countries and almost
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Searching the Heavens
July 21, 2008
The light is very clear at 4,000 meters above sea level. The sky is a pale, powder-blue at the horizon but darkens to a rich universe-blue further up. Everything appears closer, almost miniature in scale.
It is winter in Peru . Hot, dry, cloudless days are followed by bone-chilling, cloudless nights in which an infinite cluster of stars swirls over the vast highland plains. Foothills, and mountains that seem like foothills at this altitude, ring the valleys and deeply cut canyons.
The mysterious Inca Empire, began as a mountain dwelling tribe, expanded rapidly and in 300 short years, they had conquered most of the west coast and mountainous regions of South America by the time the Spanish arrived.
They built great cities and mountain citadels that even today rival modern design and ingenuity for withstanding centuries of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
But the Spaniards had unknowingly brought one unstoppable weapon with them; smallpox. In less than 50 years the population was decimated and all that remained of the greatest pre-Columbian civilization in South America , were the crumbled ruins of legends.
The Incas had no written language and left no written history other than counting strings called quipu, presumably to tally goods and taxes across its vast domain. And yet these people had incredible agricultural, engineering and astrological knowledge; all passed on through oral tradition for centuries.
Although the artifacts of a society can remain for countless years,
culture is a fragile thing for it is merely an accumulation of thoughts,
and dreams. Follow your spirit.
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