Thursday, August 26, 2010

Peruvian Confetti

Littering is against just about everything I value but, quite recently, I was guilty of doing just that.

Preparing for a retreat at the YMCA of the Rockies, I dug out a Sierra Club backpack that I thought I had never used (it was a ‘gift’ for a donation). The retreat’s crowded schedule seemed to require carrying all that I might need when I left my room each morning and a backpack seemed a good idea.

When I opened the backpack to fill it with the necessities for the retreat’s first full day, a sprinkle of yellow confetti fell to the floor. I was puzzled. Where did that come from? Then I remembered. When I was in Peru in December 2007 and January 2008, yellow confetti was part of the celebrations for both the Summer Solstice and New Year. It was a good luck blessing. I did not think I had taken my backpack to Peru so was a little mystified about how the confetti got there. And a little embarrassed to have littered my dorm room. I picked up as much as I could but left the rest. Good luck blessings are good things.

That night I tried to clean out the backpack but was unsuccessful. Throughout the retreat, whenever I extracted a jacket or mug or notebook, a small flurry of confetti followed. In the dining room, in the meditation hall, on the trails around events, I left tiny little polka dots of litter. [I did pick them up when I could.]

Each time I saw them (I almost wrote ‘spotted’) I thought of my 22 days in Peru (described on my website: Our group of eleven had stayed in the town of Yucay in the Incan sacred valley. We traveled to ancient sacred places throughout the valley and near Cusco as well as spending a full day in Machu Picchu. At the end of my stay I had a better understanding of ancient civilizations and of a living people. And a better understanding of the relationship of the sacred and the every day.

Perhaps not so coincidently, that was what the retreat was about.

Sometimes litter is appropriate.

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