~A fictional tale~
It was the last days of the rainy season in the Andean Mountains in the year, 2019. Energetic thirty-something, Clarah shook sand and leaves from her shoes. This was not how she wanted to spend her birthday. Her feet were sore, her legs and arms cramping from fatigue.
Nonetheless, she made a promise to make this climb up the long and mystical stone staircase, thousands of years old, hewn by her ancestral people, to a cave her mother wanted her to visit today.
It was neither a tourist destination up there in the thin mountain air, nor a heavily traveled vista. Yet, brightly colored prayer flags flew in the cool breeze—their rattling sounds, keeping Clarah company on her arduous climb to find the mysterious cave.
Despite her discomfort with, well, everything, on the staircase climb, for the first time in her life, Clarah felt a sense of belonging. She enjoyed big city life but, she has never quite felt as though she fit in.
This first ever trip was Clarah’s birthday gift from her mother, Rosea. Rosea had gathered her life savings so that the two of them could make this journey into the Cochiguaz jungle, from their home in Santiago.
Rosea insisted that Clarah climb the staircase to the cave alone, while she awaited her return, in a nearby village.
Arriving at the final plateau of the staircase, Clarah’s eyes met with an incredible scene. Suddenly, a small cave appeared in a small clearing. Its inner-most wall glowed from ceiling to floor. Upon closer inspection, Clarah saw that the cave’s light source was from an innumerable number of votive candles. Each votive candle had no obvious fuel source, except for about a teaspoon of strange looking sand holding each wick aloft, and emitting a red glow. Each votive was housed in a separate tiny hollow in the cave wall.
Doing as her mother instructed, Clarah walked to the thirty fifth row of votive candles and counted the thirty fifth candle from the cave ceiling. There she saw the special candle her mother wanted her to locate.
She shifted the tiny votive candle gently to one side in its nook in the cave wall. A small scroll fell to the dusty cave floor. Just then, the fragrant smells of spikenard and incense filled the air, when inexplicably, a gust of wind swirled inside the cave.
Clarah opened the scroll. To her dismay, she recognized the handwriting. The scroll had these words inscribed within,
“Dear Clarah, I made a similar pilgrimage to this cave of hope, as you just did. I write this scroll to you today, on this my thirty fifth birthday. I believe that despite overwhelming medical evidence to the contrary, someday, I will give birth to you, my daughter, who will, in time: hold this small scroll, read it, and know that faith in the impossible is real. ~~ Dated June 15, 1984, with all my love, your mother, Rosea.”