Maybe the reasons the Mayans felt the need to create such vast, powerful spaces are the same as to why we feel compelled to move in them.
Mixco Viejo – a set of Mayan ruins, a couple hours’ drive out from the hustle and bustle of the city. We had been talking about the idea of going there and seeing what sort of training opportunities might be present, as I’d never had such an experience. My friend Jeremy had just come to visit me from Colorado, so the timing was perfect for the journey.
Never having been to a Mayan site before, I really didn’t know what to expect. The drive was only supposed to take less than two hours, but the anticipation started quickly building as we moved from the typical city traffic to getting stuck behind chicken buses slowly dragging through the small pueblos tucked within the back hills of the Chimaltenango department. I remember thinking that there must be pretty few people venturing out this far, and the ones who were must really have an appreciation for this kind of thing as it wasn’t a popular or touristy site by any means.
Getting to the gate, we encountered a couple of workers who attended the site including one older man who held a really proud air about his work of stamping the entry ticket. Jeremy and I coughed up the inflated extranjero price, hoping that the money actually went to maintaining the state of the ruins, which is always questionable. The ticket entry number was something crazy low, in the upper hundreds or low thousands, and they still had the ones printed from 1995, which made me realize how few people actually came to this place.
We made our way up to the first plateau where two massive structures overlooked the mountainous hills circling the open plains below. They had built these structures high above the valleys, in such a way, where they could see the other side of their small city from anywhere on the plateau. You get the feeling of being in a city amongst the clouds. Jeremy started warming up some movement while I soaked in the transient, peaceful air of the place.
We continued on to the main site which contained these two pillars we had seen in photos before. I had already thought about how cool it would be to get a shot of the gap, so I quickly made my way up the steep climb to take a look. I hadn’t done a jump like this in months, especially requiring the run-up to get the distance to the other side. I knew I was capable and that I just needed a bit of preparation time to calm my mind. The run-up felt solid after a few test runs and I climbed back down to do a few warm-up jumps, as my body was cold and tight from sitting in the car all day.
Feeling confident, I climbed back up and gave myself a moment to breathe before committing to the leap. It wasn’t difficult by any means, but I felt a sense of relief at overcoming the fear. It was a moment I couldn’t forget – being able to have the opportunity to do a jump at height like that in such a mystical, spiritually energized place. At that moment, I felt a deep sense of appreciation and a type of deeper connection with the ancestors who sculpted the land before me.
The Mayans definitely knew what they were doing in terms of creating spiritual, sacred places that would be memorialized in time. I believe the reasons why they felt the need to create such vast, powerful spaces are the same as to why we feel compelled to move in them.