When I was in third grade, I remember paging through my social studies book at the beginning of the school year. There, at the beginning of one chapter, was the most amazing vista, printed in color on a full page. You can see it at the top of this post.
I learned that this wonderful place was Machu Picchu, built in Peru by the Inca Indians, hundreds of years ago. These people worshiped the sun and kept records using a complex system of tying knots in ropes rather than by writing. To a kid from a small town in the flat Midwestern US, it was all amazingly exotic. I thought, “Wow, it is so cool to know that a place like this exists. How neat it would be to actually see it!”
Well, I grew up, and went to see several other countries, although not Machu Picchu (yet). Still, every time I see that familiar picture, I feel the urge to see the place.
About a month ago, Daughter #1 called to say she was going on a trip with some students from her school, to Peru. Peru … I thought. Wait — isn’t that where Machu Picchu is? Why, yes it is, and this past Saturday, my daughter got to visit the ancient Inca site. Not in a book — even a book with color photos — but for real and in person!
And so, even though I’m sitting here in the house with a fractured foot, a piece of my heart has been able to travel to Machu Picchu. And that actually feels pretty good.