Tierra mi cuerpo (earth, my body)
Agua mi sangre (water, my blood)
Aire mi aliento (air, my breath)
Y fuego mi espíritu (and fire, my spirit)
A bright blue passenger train stops at the village. The
valley is narrow, between darkening cliffs in the overcast
late afternoon. The air is thin and dry, but the clouds
threaten rain. Below, a gray-green river sluices over house-sized
boulders. There is a swaying wooden bridge over the torrent.
Two hundred strangers begin to tumble from the train, in
bright woolen sweaters and fleece jackets, shouldering enormous
packs, tired, awkward, uncertain where to go. No one greets
us, no one herds us, but those who seem to know are heading
for the bridge. On the other side is a sheer cliff with
a rocky footpath etched across it. Somewhere beyond that
is an open place dotted with eucalyptus and dry scrub, where
a blue and white striped circus tent can be seen, a strange
gaudy element in this somber landscape. With a noise like
unwilling mules, we start to file along the stony tracks,
to cross the river, and find the place where we are to camp
for the next seven days.
In September 2003, beginning on the date of the spring equinox
in the southern hemisphere, I attended a week-long gathering
held in the Urubamba Valley of Peru, near the ancient Inca
ceremonial sites of Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. Called
“The Call of the Condor: A Vision Council for Bioregional
Action,” it brought together more than 700 people
from 36 countries, including Mexico and most of South America.
The slogan was “Todos Unidos por la Tierra”
(All Together for the Earth), and the idea was to bring
together a diverse array of alternative trends to build
a global movement for ecological and social change.