Last month, when my poor family suffered snow and wind chills in the negative digits, I was in Mexico for work. We worked hard, I swear. And we also played hard.
After a full week of training, testing, troubleshooting, and writing, we took one day to go exploring. My teammate booked a private van for our group, and we piled in it on Friday morning, March 17, for the 2.5 hour drive west, from Playa del Carmen on the coast to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in the interior of the Yucatán peninsula. I’d never seen archeological ruins before — not outside, in real life, in the physical place they existed.
Anything I’d ever seen was a photograph or a recreation in a museum. It was a wonder to walk around this ancient city that so little is known about. There was the massive ball court, with a ring 30 feet off the ground.
There were pyramids.
There was a temple of warriors. I wondered what sorts of sacrifices might have been made there.
We walked for three hours around this ancient city. I tried to imagine it populated — the smells, the industry, the royalty, the wildlife — lizards, serpents, predatory cats. There was an ancient observatory, and the understanding of astronomy and geometry seemed quite advanced. I tried to imagine the city at night, how dark it would have been. I tried to imagine it through all the days and nights, without books or light or electricity (or electronics!), when they watched stars, solstices, moon phases, equinoxes, eclipses.
I wish I could have taken my family there. There was much history in the stones, the air, the blinding sun, and soaked into the earth in that place.