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  • David Sunderland

Inca reflections at the turn of the year

How long did those stones take to cut, drag and place, with precision and force unparalleled such that we lack the means in our modern age to emulate the creation of, nay even move, the largest ones? And the gold and other precious things, whisked away from the Inca civilization in a matter of decades by the Spanish wave that delivered violence, Christian teachings and new diseases in return.

Touring the Inca sites, their perfectly placed walls, sickeningly high (for some) in the Andes; their irrigation and agricultural terraces so neat and adapted to the landscape; the holes in cliffs left where desiccated mummies waited for their next trip in the Cosmos; their sun temples and sundials synchronized with the solstices; their voice, half a millennium old, a misty echo resonating with each footstep, each vista, each breath skirting the mountains.

Their voice; their culture; their essence - scrubbed away by time leaving only mute milestones, a tumble of genetics, and identical take-away knick-knacks. Perhaps the Quechua and their language carry the greatest resonance; evolving as living players selling selfie sticks; carrying packs on the Inca Trail; herding llamas or breeding alpacas for sweaters, scarfs or bobble hats; touting massages in the street with laminated sheets bearing options; or working in one of the thousands of Cusco tour agencies selling tours for the new mobile invading mobile-bearing hordes.

How quickly the waves and hordes come and go, bearing witness to a little corner of history, coming to a little corner of the world, sweeping in a faint trace of dust and change, perhaps turning a corner in their understanding as images, memories and souvenirs get snaffled away and around.

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