(and yes, it may have taken 20+ hours of driving, one-way…)
but there’s nothing quite like standing near these magical pink granite coastlines,
where the old-growth mountain forests kiss the edge of the sea.
“Ocean, are you listening?
The most beautiful part
of your body is wherever
your mother’s shadow falls.”
One of my favorite memories of my recent trip to Colombia was photographing Julian and his abuelo on a hike at Cocora Valley. The day before, his abuelo had asked if he could join us, even expressing interest in hiking with us. He wanted to do it all. It wasn’t until later that I learned he hadn’t been back to Cocora Valley in more than twenty years.
Once on horseback and another time on foot, I’ve been fortunate to experience the wonder and wisdom of Cocora Valley in Salento, Colombia. It’s become my place of refuge this month, a place where I’ve been able to both calmly reflect and seek advice and perspective during these difficult times.
There are relationships that are centered around certain places,
sometimes remaining and laying dormant there for all time,
rejuvenated only when time allows presences to align.
A few months ago, a monk said to me, “It’s easy to be thankful for our friends, family, good health, and positive experiences, but it’s much more difficult to be thankful for challenging situations, difficult people, and other difficult experiences. Now you’re probably wondering: why should we be thankful for these things? Well, sometimes, difficult experiences and people who make us angry or sad can show us where we might need more wisdom.”
A year ago, I moved to a really charming corner of the world called Battambang, Cambodia. I had previously been there one other time for my first 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat, but this time around would be my first time actually living and experiencing a non-monastic life in Cambodia. I was excited to return and reconnect.