I did not care if we found the waterfall any more. I did not care if we found the group any more. I agree with Lea – I’m hot, I’m tired, and hungry. And I have to pee. I want to sit on a rock and eat lunch. But wait, I hear something! It’s a woman shrieking with laughter. I would know that laugh anywhere.
“Christina? Is that you, Christina?” I shouted. I am soft spoken by nature. When I think I am shouting really loud, other people barely notice that I’m speaking at all. Rev Deb, in a much more powerful voice took over. “Hello! Hey! Inner Light people, we’re over here on the trail. How do we get to you?”
With that, the sure-footed guide, José came bounding over the boulders. Smiling, he said, “Follow me.” And off we went. We never would have found it on our own. Picking a path through giant boulders? Nope. We would have gone deeper and deeper into the jungle.
We are not talking about an easy path through the boulders, we are talking about ginormous boulders – at least in my view. There are two things I’m scared of – rocking chairs and climbing boulders. Oh, I’m fine going up. It’s the coming down that petrifies me and puts me into a heart-thumping, dry-mouth state. I remember one time when I was hiking in the Pinnacles in Hollister, California. I was hiking with a handsome, fit, much younger Colombian man named Stefan who had no idea I was fifteen years his senior. Again, I was fine climbing up with his strong capable help and dazzling smile. I would have followed him anywhere. The moment of truth came on the way down. I sat at the top of the ledge which, in my mind, looked like Yosemite’s Half Dome, and started hyper-ventilating. My companion had to do some sweet talking, and I don’t remember how, but I made it down and quietly vowed to never do that again. Never say never.
We arrived at the waterfall thinking everybody would be happy and relieved to see us. Nope. They didn’t even know we were lost. Didn’t even have the slightest concern. They were lunching, swimming, and sunning. So, we just joined in like we intentionally took those exploratory detours.
As I sat by the side of the river, a bit away from the group, I wanted to quietly take in the scene and gather my thoughts. My hands were resting on my knees as I sat cross-legged on a flat rock staring off into space. A flash of color caught my eye. A butterfly had landed on my hand. This was a first.
I remembered the words of a friend several years prior, “Carole Jean, you got to slow down. You’re so busy running after everything, you don’t stop to breathe. Just sit still and the butterfly will land on your shoulder.”
That friend, Tom, passed away the following year, but his words stayed with me. They rang in my head as I focused on sitting still so as not to disturb the butterfly. As I was studying the colors on his delicate wings, another one landed on my other hand.
Nobody else saw it. Nobody else had to. This was for me. I was my very own Alice in Wonderland. I cherish that moment.
I was still lost in thought when it was time to go. I was still contemplating the butterflies – so much so that I forgot to be afraid of climbing down the boulders. Carolyn, one of the guides, and I were on our way to retrieve Lea and Cheryl from where they dropped off from the waterfall quest. The plan was to lead them out so Cheryl could make her 3:00 massage appointment.
We arrived at the trail marker we had left earlier and it had an additional note written on it – Lea and Cheryl went back.
Carolyn and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and she said, “Alrighty then. Our work is done here. Let’s go!”
We visited some folks that lived on the river. We stopped and chatted with people who had made Yelapa home .They were the kind of people who dare to live outside of the box. Intriguing people. Quirky people. The kind I like.
When we got to Claudia’s palapa, she invited us for iced tea. I admired her bracelet. She beamed as she told me the history of it, and the women who had beaded it. With that she unhooked it from her wrist and placed it on mine.
“It’s stunning!” I cried.
“It’s yours,” she smiled.
I wear it next to my Caribbean Hook bracelet which has been on my wrist for ten years. The hook bracelet carries special meaning – as does this one. I see boulders, butterflies, and the smile of the lovely lady who gave it to me. It carries magic and memories. Memories of the day we got lost, but finally found the beautiful Yelapa waterfall.