The double set of glass doors closes behind me and I am met by a rush of warm humid air. A long dormant recess in my brain leaps to attention. Neurons begin firing and in a millisecond I am transported in time and space to Chupientsa, a tiny village in the Ecuadorian jungle.
Tim and I, with our young daughter, along with Tim's brother and his wife, are staying with friends, an older couple from our mission. I am 6 months pregnant.
Our friends tell us about a beautiful waterfall and we make plans to visit. They look at my protruding belly and say, "The trail is not long, but it's steep."
Forewarned, I decide to accompany the group.
The trail downwards is almost hidden, covered by dense green growth. A thick strong rope, tied securely to a tree, marks the beginning of the descent. I rely on the rope to keep me from slipping on the damp leaves and skidding to the invisible bottom. Tim precedes me, ready to stop any fall.
We reach the floor of the small canyon. Far above, only the smallest bits of blue sky appear through the lacy ceiling of foliage. At one end, a waterfall, maybe 50 feet tall, splashes into a round pool and fills the air with cool mist.
Ralph picks his way along the side of the pool and we follow, balancing from rock to rock until we arrive on a narrow ledge that continues behind the waterfall. We stand listening to the steady thunder of falling water. Our view is a watery blur of colour and light.
Returning back along the ledge to the open space that seems like a large emerald room, each of us explores individually, calling occasionally across the din of water. We peer into pools of water, examine flowers, and marvel at the wonder of the Amazon jungle.
I find a smooth flat rock, remove my shoes, and dangle my feet in the water, content to sit and absorb the scene. A flicker of blue catches my eye. A Blue Morpho flutters by. When open, its iridescent wings are a striking contrast in this green world. I watch, transfixed, as it floats around the canyon, flashing blue.
Then, once again, time whirls and I am a grandmother accompanying my three grandchildren, one a daughter of the tiny girl who flew into that jungle setting (but didn't go down into the canyon), and the other two, children of the babe I carried in my womb, to Butterfly World, just 15 minutes away from my home on Vancouver Island.
There were many other butterflies willing to have their photos taken yesterday, along with turtles, tortoises, a macaw, a parrot, flamingos and other creatures, including poison dart frogs from, you guessed it, the Ecuadorian jungle. I'm glad I didn't see any of those that day so long ago!
We had a fun time, my daughter and I, with the three little ones. The world is full of marvelous things to explore. It's spring break this week and next, and I'm thoroughly enjoying time to relax and visit.