Trip to Chimborazo

Chimborazo has been “calling” me for a long time. I was born in Riobamba, a city where you can see the mountain in all its splendor. Despite the fact that I immediately came to live in Quito, my beloved Chimborazo has always followed me. Each visit, which was often to visit my relatives, made me feel like I had a friend and I talked to him.

I migrated to the USA, I lived there for a while and when I returned to Riobamba, Taita didn’t show up. I felt that he was angry, that he wanted me to go see him. Many years before the pandemic, I was looking for my place in the universe and it has been a journey of many teachers, learning, challenges, and tests but much love. A moment came in my process when it became clear to me that visiting Taita Chimborazo was no longer just a desire but a necessity. That’s when I decided to ask Diana about a trip to take medicine with Taita (a kichuwa term to affectionally refer to a father, so they call him “Taita Chimborazo”)

As soon as we arrived, the Taita appeared and received me with affection, perfectly clear weather just a thin cloud wrapping around him, and happy to see me. The walk started smoothly with a lot of emotion, almost like a girl on Christmas night. We took the medicine and there was a little bit of rain, very typical of the páramo (climate of the mountain). Will it rain on us? It only rained enough to “clean up” and the weather was perfect the whole time. We started walking and my daughter, who is not very given to adventure or nature, was very tired. There began a symbolism for me of everything that would come and will come. I was able to literally and symbolically lighten my daughter’s load, the load that she has been carrying for many years and that did not belong to her. The mountain as our witness, we were able to heal in an act of love which would have taken us a lifetime without being aware of it and I am sure that the mountain helped us see it. We walked through the páramo watching cows, the clouds passing by, and the wind whistling and singing in our ears. Upon reaching the waterfall, we were able to give the offerings to my Taita because that is the beauty of nature: the mountain is not just earth, it is water, it is wind and it is fire. Diana was guiding me to give him everything that we had lovingly collected from Quito: flowers, spices, herbs from my own garden, and most importantly coca leaves. I threw it all with the happiness of a child, I was able to laugh and cry leaving a lifetime of pain there. A coca leaf stayed in the water instead of going down in the waterfall and the Taita told me that this is how I played with him as a girl, I returned to that inner child that the Taita embraced and loved so much, and again, in a single act I healed, let go and I was incredibly thankful.

For the return, the weather was kept the same but as we were walking there was a dense fog as it happens in the mountains. One couldn’t see more than a few feet away in front. The mountain was saying that in the coming months, I will not have a clear path ahead, that it will be like that mist that lets you see a foot in front of you and that by acting and doing the right thing, the path will open up more. What a playful and creative way to understand the path of being!

Before going up a hill and back to where we had parked, we decided to sit down and sing one more song. Diana sang with her drum and I observed that some birds not only flew, they seemed to dance. They said with joy that their stomach was full, they no longer lacked anything but that flying gives them pleasure. They fly because it makes them happy, and this is essential when you have walked a path of depression and sadness. If someone told me what the true meaning of being human is, it would be to be that bird that delights with music and dances to its beat.

The climb back up was a bit brutal, to be honest. I wasn’t prepared for such a climb, and I had to do it little by little and the truth is that if there wasn’t laughter and humor, I might not have been able to climb. Feeling that the strength was leaving, I thought “The mountain called us, the mountain will sustain us” and so it was. There was no doubt that the mountain was there not only to sustain the body but also the spirit with its symbolism and creative way of loving. When we finally arrived, the sun, the moon, and Chimborazo were found together and they said “Welcome home”. What a joyful moment for me. Whenever I needed to I knew I could go to back home.

And so on a day-to-day basis, I see myself with Taita every day, both of us with wide smiles as we meet again, play together, listen to each other, and talk to each other as we always did from the beginning. Thank you Diana for your gift of love!

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