The Magic of Tikal, Guatemala
I was out of breath. Countless drops of sweat ran down my red cheeks, as both of my legs shook under the bright sun that stood right above me. Yet, I was on top of the world. At least, that’s how I perceived the astounding view that created a miraculous image; one composed of vast amounts of trees and illustrious ancient pyramids that were strongly rooted to the ground. After climbing a prolonged set of steps, I was finally standing on the peak of a Mayan temple; I was situated on the heart of Tikal.
For about five hundred years, Tikal was one of the grandest and most prosperous cities inhabited by the Mayan civilization. A substantial portion of its wealth was mainly due to its abundant natural resources and unique architecture. Some of the most common goods that were characteristic of its economy were wood, dye, flint, and maize. As for its architecture, Tikal included a series of temples and pyramids that were built throughout a number of relatively large plazas. I was amazed to find that Tikal’s splendor still stood today.
The rustic pyramids were not the only feature that captivated my attention. I was amazed by Tikal’s diverse flora and fauna, too. Walking through miles and miles of the jungle not only comprised an exhausting aerobic workout, but offered endless, beautiful sights, ranging from flowers with colorful petals, to groups of monkeys swinging on ropes and breaking the slight whistle of the wind with their loud yells, to tall trees that resembled New York’s skyscrapers.
I felt like an explorer discovering mysterious lands and conquering hidden places; yet, I was not the conqueror, but the powerless subject being conquered by the astonishing features that make up Tikal. And just as the sun was about to strike one more ray of warmth, dense droplets of rain started to threaten the immense jungle, leaving a heavy and dull breeze behind. In chorus, a pack of grey clouds transformed the presence of the splendid sun into a blurry image.
A few hours later, my family and I drove back to the hotel, which was situated a few hours from the national park. A feeling of tranquility and serenity lingered through the rooms and recreational areas. Countless families had returned from the park, revealing awe and amazement on their faces.
Just as the journey couldn’t get any more surprising, a vivid palette of orange, red, and yellow, overtook the view from the room’s glass windows. It was almost six in the afternoon, and this meant the beginning of a marvelous performance hosted by the sun, descending from the roof of the sky.
I was not the conqueror, but the powerless subject being conquered by the astonishing features that make up Tikal.
All the spectators immediately headed to the shore of Lake Flores, a startling body with a homogenous composition of crystalline molecules of water and tiny communities of fish. Numerous photographers witnessing the show through the lens of their cameras, captured the dark silhouettes of birds, kids, and boats, contrasted by the bright sunset that overtook the background of the image.
In an ephemeral moment, the intensity of the sunset became opaque, blending with the blackness of the silhouettes and indicating to the audience that nighttime had set in. A dark sky became the protagonist of the scene; a sky that protects Tikal from foreign invasion and keeps it as authentic, prosperous and wealthy as it used to be… at least that’s how I perceived the journey from my nighttime dreams.