By Jackie Leavitt
I sit here, my hammock gently swaying in the mountain breezes, in this land where layers of wispy white clouds swirl and expand above me like a kaleidoscope turning in heaven. A pigeon coos in the corner of the empty horse stalls, a frog gurgles and belches in the shade, and crickets rub their legs together in a subtle, sweet murmur. Small disturbances punctuate the rhythm: a yapping of an alerted dog, the fluttering hum of wings as a bird takes flight, the muted mooing coming from cow pastures yonder. The falling sun illuminates the back of my hair, spilling over the hammock’s side, and casts dramatic shadows on the rolling mountain ranges that rise like frozen waves upon a green ocean. I sit upon the top of a crest, surrounded by wooden fences used long ago for herding cattle into pens. The stakes — rather than making me feel caged — creates a frame for the vista that first drops out of sight before sloping up the rippling hills that soften into the hazy distance.
This — here — right now — is so familiar to me, as if I have held this view for years and years, even though I’ve seen it only for one day. As if in another life I had lifted the worn, heavy iron latch on the gate to lead my horse free into the Colombian countryside. I can almost remember the scratch of the rusty and paint-chipped metal in my hand, although I know I have never touched it. It’s an illusion, but seems so real. The rest of the world feels so far away: It’s as if my life in the bustling cities of the United States are really but a dream, and this the awakening.