A wide spot in my imagination.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 3: Blogging through Ecuador - Thin Places

Saturday, July 3. Peguche Falls (pictured at right).

Today we went to see the marvelous cascade of water at Peguche Falls. The Lonely Planet travel guide describes these falls as sacred to the Otavalan Indians, and I would agree. The clarity of the water, the tumbling roar, the crispness, and the soaring hills make this one of those "thin places" of which the Celts speak -- a place where the line between secular and sacred is blurred.

The same travel guide said that for the Festival of San Juan, local men take ritual baths in the springs. The last time I was here (2008), I saw a newly-wedded couple plunging 'neath the water. A local had told them the waters were auspicious for new beginnings.

Several of our group climbed the steep path above the falls, only to find their another set of falls -- this one tumbling down through what appeared to be a hole in the earth. (Words don't do it justice.)

So, above the lower falls and beneath the upper falls, there is a tunnel in the rocky earth that leads to a wading pool. (It would be out of sight, above the water in this picture.) With a couple of my traveling companions, I crawled through the tunnel, took off my shoes, rolled my pants above my knees, and splashed into the water.

The smooth rocks, the cool water, the wash of the current. Holy, all, in the grandest sense.

I had a similar feeling last year, wading in the headwaters of the Jordan River at Banias. And a similar feeling years ago when -- contemplating my faith, my calling, and my baptism -- I waded into the simple stream of Little Falls Creek in Bethesda.

I can't say that I felt wholly transformed or profoundly changed while wading in the water at Peguche Falls. But I felt younger, lighter, giddier, more innocent and happy. Maybe that's what thin places do. Maybe that's what sacred is.

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