We took a day trip outside of La Cruz with the crews of Island Bound and Grace to climb a mountain trail miles off the highway in hopes of visiting ancient petroglyphs hidden deep in the tropical jungle called Santuaria del Rey.
We didn't find out until we got there that the ancient Tecoxcuin people, who carved the petroglyphs 2,000 years ago, long before the Mayans and the Incas, were also known as the "throat-cutters" in their native language. We were assured that these ancient people were long ago sold into slavery by the Spanish, and the sole survivors were wiped out by the old standby, disease.
|"Are you absolutely sure all of the throat cutters have died out?|
We continued to climb deeper and deeper into the jungle, passing more petroglyphs carved into the stone thousands of years ago by the "throat cutters" -- who have long ago died out -- which I continued to remind myself as we passed through miles of jungle, completely alone and exposed.
|Chris reads details of how the "throat cutter" people slashed the throats of their hapless victims|
|Perhaps these four circles are symtolic of the eyeballs cut out by the "throat cutters"|
(who have, they assured us, ALL DIED OUT")
|Bill wondering if this trail, lovingly laid to the throat-cutters lair with stones,|
includes the human bones of their hapless victims
Our friend Kevin's dog Patches felt a special affinity with this petroglyph man carved into the stone. Thankfully, Patches didn't "mark his territory" on the ancient carving. That's all we needed...making the "throat-cutter" gods angry.
Finally, we reached the sacred spring, waterfall and pool where, I suppose, the throat-cutters washed off the blood and guts of their victims as they cleansed their souls with a sacred swim after a long and difficult day of throat-cutting.
|Judy looks down at the sacred pools and thinks twice about taking a dip in the cold water|
OK, this place was lush and simply gorgeous. We all dropped our backpacks and broke out our lunches next to the pool. It was crystal clear, and you could see right to the bottom. Chris stuck his foot in and announced to the group that the water was very cold. Although I was hot and tired from the hike, I wasn't really up for a cold swim -- and neither was anyone else in the group.
Our friend Kevin, visiting from Kauai, calmly removed his shirt and shoes. In his swim shorts, he quietly padded to the side of the pool, and calmly, stealthily, glided beneath the water. His head gently broke the surface at the other end of the pool.
Kevin did not shriek, or yell out, or scream "This is freaking cold!" He calmly tucked his head and again gently and calmly traversed the depth and the length of the pool in sure, slow strokes. He emerged from the other end of the pool and serenely emerged, with a gentle smile on his face.
Watching this display, I had an epiphany:
"What in the heck am I doing?" I said to myself.
"We're here, on this trip of a lifetime. We will never be here again. We have just hiked miles uphill to a sacred, crystalline mountain pool fed by several waterfalls...
And I'm too lazy or too chicken to swim because it's too cold.
Newly inspired, I followed Kevin's lead. I gently rose, stripped down to my swimsuit, stepped up to the pool, did not dip my foot in and shriek as I usually would, but instead (following the example of Kevin, my new spiritual mentor) took a slow deep breath and gently lowered myself into the water with one long, smooth, underwater stroke across the pool.
|Me trying to be calm and serene in the (freezing!) sacred pool|
My husband Chris soon followed, of course. It was simply wonderful. I pulled Kevin aside later and thanked him for shaking me out of my stupor.
Seize the day!
And we did.