One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy. – Richard Burton
It is 8:35am, and I am covered in sweat and dirt, holding a machete, standing on top of a pyramid of dense jungle looking out over the horizon. I am addicted to endorphins and ready to live to be one hundred years old. Giddy up. The view is incredible as the grey clouds overhead provide a canopy of shade from the heat of the sun as it holds in the cool morning air, and you can sense the temperature rising through the thick humidity. The ascent to the summit of this Guatemalan mountain, that Coloradans would consider a lovely little hill, the steep rocky terrain vaguely reminds me of rock climbing in El Dorado Canyon just outside of Boulder, minus plants that develop leaves the size of Yugos and inhabit insects the size of dinner plates. I look over my shoulder and see Armando sitting on a rock winded from the vertical climb. Growing up at an altitude of 5,280 feet (1,609 meters) I feel fortunate that I am use to quick bouts of elevation, while my sea level compradre struggles with double vision and nausea. Unsure of how to handle the situation, I ask if he has taken his Midol for the day or if he would rather share his feelings out loud. Neither. I suppose he just has a case of the Mondays.
The beginning of the credits is also the beginning of bedtime for our young viewers, short goodnights are exchanged and soon the galaxy is quiet and free of the Empire at the Finca. Armando and I begin a conversation that lasts into the late hours of the night, sharing in all of the places that we hope to visit. Our level of excitement begins to match that of the two young boys that sat and stared as the Dark Side was abolished by Luke Skywalker and I am convinced that I will never grow up as I continue to experience youthful reminders of my boyhood imagination.
Retiring for the night back to La Cometa, I cannot help but stare up at the sky and take in all of the stars shining down upon me. In the absence of city lights, the night sky presents all of the beauty that sadly becomes forgotten in a sea of glowing structures. Sitting alone, I turn off the small porch light and am now in complete darkness. Slowly my eyes adjust to the new contrast and within a matter of seconds more glimmering lights appear flickering above me. I sit in awe of this gorgeous view and take in the moment in solace. Turning my head to the right, still looking upward, a new set of small flickers catch my eye, lightning bugs. A great big smile is evident across my face through the pitch black darkness and I am quickly brought back to my childhood. Minutes pass and I am unconcerned with finding my bed, but want to cherish this night for just a few minutes longer. My thoughts continue to rest upon a variety of topics, finally settling upon one subject, one person, and the only words that come to mind, shmurnt murnt.