Peru

2013-11-06T03:42:27-08:00Categories: dementia, hiking, travel|Tags: , , |

 “I’m doing this for Mom,” I thought, half-dreaming, as our bus climbed up and up through the scarves of fog that swirled around Machu Picchu. Doing this for Mom. Why would I think that? It’s not like her heart’s desire was to visit Peru and see the Inca citadels. But the thought persisted, until my eyes were welling. It’s the altitude, I thought. It’s the 4:00 a.m. bolt out of bed. I need more coffee. I need— I need to share this with my mom. And I can’t. And yet, as the day progressed, I felt like I did. I have a necklace my Great-uncle Carl bought for my mother in Peru. It’s a simple string of alternating wooden and silver beads. I remember how perfect it looked against her tanned skin and dark hair. I imagine that Carl, or perhaps his elegant wife Ruth, enjoyed buying it, fifty or so years ago, at some lovely shop in Lima. They were nearing the end, then, of two decades here; decades in which they helped launch Peru’s thriving fishmeal industry, raised four children and became leaders in the ex-pat community. To me, as a little girl, their lives sounded unimaginably exotic. I remember Carl instructing us to say YA-ma, not LA-ma; I remember the strange words—Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Inca—rolling off his tongue. When Carl gave my mom that necklace, she had never been east of her home state, Montana, south of San Francisco, north of Vancouver, west of Westport. But she loved to daydream about the trips [...]