Blossoms of cosmos, pink and coral,
seem to lift the playground
from its deserted field.
Delicate petals wave
on a million invisible stems.
The swingset’s in flowers
up to the benches.
Ghost children climb the slide
above the hovering blooms,
and then slip down again
into a bed of flowers.
You cup your ear to distant singing,
and school bells seem to ring
from far-off childhood.
An overgrown portal,
this place of play,
for travel through to other spacetimes,
or simply glimpsing them.
The teeter-totter shifts its balance—
Was there a breeze?
A child, insubstantial as the blooms,
thrills to sudden rising!
slowly spins, and with it,
a million cosmos petals.
Where will it take you? or when?
Only wish, see your destination.
along with the spectral children,
it will whirl you there.
Cenotes (“say-know’-tays”) are surface connections to subterranean rivers, deep natural sinkholes formed by the collapse of surface limestone, that expose ground water underneath. Cenotes may be fully collapsed creating an open water pool, or partially collapsed with some portion of a rock overhanging above the water. The typical open cenote characterized by a cylindrical shape resembles a circular pond with sheer drops at the edges. Seen from the sky, they look like turquoise eyes in the middle of the thick jungle.
In Yucatán there are between 6000-15,000 cenotes, with only 10-20% of them studied and registered. Many are believed to be interconnected by massive cave systems that eventually lead to the sea. The word xenote or cenote, comes from the Mayan “dzonot”, which means water cavern. To the Spanish ear, this word was registered as cenote. Mayans settled villages around these spiritual wells and believed that they were portals, sacred places of life and death, as both their source of water and as a gateway to the gods.
Some scientists say that cenotes are part of something even larger. Using imagery collected from NASA shuttle missions, scientists have been studying a large, multi-ringed crater centered near the town of Puerto Chicxilub on the Yucatan peninsula. It is believed that the crater was formed by a meteorite which slammed into the Earth more than 65 million years ago, and is linked to a major biological catastrophe where more than 50 percent of the Earth’s species, including the dinosaurs, became extinct. As a result, the Ring of Cenotes at Chicxilub took shape, creating the foundation for the geohydrologic features of the peninsula, including the cenotes!
Cenotes have been called the soul of the jungle. To visit a cenote today is to travel to a portal of harmony with the mystery of nature. As a blogger named Enduran (http://blog.xenotes.com/en/types-of-cenotes-in-the-yucatan-peninsula/) so poetically puts it, “Respect their history and the cenote itself will restore the natural beauty, giving us the opportunity to find inside of ourselves, the same magic it keeps.”
Quintana Roo is a state of SE Mexico, on the E Yucatán Peninsula, and Bacalar is a gem in this hidden corner of the world. The name Bacalar is derived from the Mayan: B’ak Halal, meaning surrounded by reeds. Bacalar lagoon is a mix of fresh and saltwater sitting atop a bed of white sand and limestone, creating a spectrum of pristine blues and turquoises and mint greens, and engendering the tourist description, “Lake of Seven Colors”.
On a hill overlooking the ocean in northeastern Japan is a phone booth known as the “Telephone of the Wind”. People come to “call” family members lost during the tsunami of the 2011 Japan Earthquake.
Go to the white booth
with the disconnected telephone
that can break the block of sadness
cemented in your heart.
The black rotary phone takes your voice
further than the world,
takes your voice past death.
Speak on the wind phone
in the white booth
to those you couldn’t save,
speak to your lost ones.
On the wind, rise up!
Who do you need to talk to?
Rise from the silencing grief
and call your lost ones.
From the well of grief, the rotary phone
calls forth, first, your own voice.
It rises from speechlessness
to connect with those you lost.
The disconnected line won’t
carry your voice
but the wind, the wind will.
Speak what needs to be said
to those you need to talk to.
You will get through.
Your words will get through
your strangled, tightened throat;
then, through the disembodied place
on the other end of the wind,
to the place where the lost
are listening hard, to heal you.