Two years ago, my husband and I spent time in Peru. The timing wasn’t good– just after the terrible flooding that had inundated valleys ( including the Valley of the Incas) destroyed crops and livestock, and ripped out train tracks. Needless to say, sightseeing was more difficult . Still, we visited Inca crop circles, ancient ruins and sacred sites, and the ethereal, miraculous Machu Picchu. Because so few trains were running to Machu Picchu, the ancient site was nearly deserted– amazingly, we encountered more llamas than tourists. They grazed happily on the steeply terraced slopes, leapt lightly from one terrace to another, and lolled in the sun in the central courtyards.
Completely at ease in this ancient place, the llamas’ days pass as tranquilly as they might have when Inca rulers inhabited Machu Picchu. They were grazing placidly as we left for the evening, and they were grazing and dozing when we returned in the morning. We noticed a female lying down surrounded by other concerned llamas–she was in labor, and two fragile legs were just visible. We hiked to the Sun Gate, the ancient entrance to Machu Picchu, and we returned several hours later to find the mother llama grazing contentedly and the wobbly baby trying uncertainly to nurse– a small miracle within the miracle of Machu Picchu.
Earlier in our trip, we had watched Peruvian weavers dyeing llama yarn. Of course, I bought a sampling of the wonderful hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn. But I still can’t bring myself to knit with that yarn– apparently, I can’t part with the memories and let that magical yarn become a mere scarf.