The hills are alive with the sound of pan flute
“Where’s. That. Music. Coming. From?” I ask Todd as we pause our up up uphill hike to the ruins over Pisac, Peru. “Do you. See. Anyone?”
“Wait. Is that, pan flute? It is. Ugh, pan flute!”
Despite the pestering sound, the hike to and through Pisac‘s old Incan ruins is blissful. On high, the air is surprisingly clear of tour bus fumes. The view from the top of the terraced mountains requires a full spin to take it all in, leaving me Julie Andrews dizzy.
Although, to be fair, the ruins hike is not easy. Todd and I thought we were being ever so smart and budget-conscious, deciding to skip the taxi ride to the far trailhead.
So instead of an easy hike descending from the trail’s highest point, we’ve ascended over 1,000 feet by Incan staircase and washed out sheep trails, wishing we’d brought more water. Our main consolation is that we’ve already adjusted to the site’s 11,000-foot altitude so there’s no puking or migraines.
We meet people going the other, supposedly easier direction who are far worse off than us. We cross paths with a thick-around-the-middle, middle aged American woman. She’s catching her breath on a minimalist wood bench someone has thoughtfully set up next to the trail. Unprompted, she tells us she’s resting because the downhill hike has turned her legs into jelly.
“But I’m okay with the pain. It’s all been worth it. Ya’see, this is a karmic path for me,” she explains as she wipes her forehead on her tye-dyed shirt sleeve.
“I fell at one point, right on my ass. And when I put my hands down on the ground to push myself back up, I touched this rock.”
She holds out a flat gray stone that has a 90-degree corner and two asymmetrical curves.
“It’s a heart!” she shouts. “I’m here in Peru to get over heartbreak and the universe gives me this sign. Can you believe it?”
Much practiced with handling exuberant, heartfelt ravings, Todd and I “mmm” and “aah” appropriately during her story and sidle off quickly.
“A heart?!” I say to Todd once we’re out of hearing range, “I thought it looked like a stubby little penis.”
Have you ever felt you were meant to be somewhere? What sign did you receive?