Wonder—2010

The Story Behind the Photograph...

I took this picture a year ago in Mexico at the Mayan ruins at Coba. Yes, the two children are my own, Jordan on the left, Tamar on the right (they were 6 & 4 at the time). Yes, it’s a fun family snapshot… but for me it’s much more than that. The Mayan pyramid alone is stunning, rising up as it does, out of the Yucatan jungle. But the way the two children look up in what one could easily assume is awe and wonder strikes me as the perfect moment to capture what we all feel inside as we look at these ancient and magnificent structures.

The picture is not posed… which is to say, I did not direct or influence Jordan or Tamar’s behavior. The moment is true.

Getting to this moment wasn’t difficult, but it did take intent. For starters, we arrived in Coba late on a Tuesday afternoon, found a hotel, settled in and got to bed early. The next morning we ate a fast breakfast and walked to the entrance to the ruins in order to arrive a full hour before the gate opened. As a result, we were first in line, first into the ruins, and due to moving quickly past the Mayan ball courts and other ruins, we were first to this, the most magnificent of the Mayan pyramids at Coba.

There are bicycles for rent in Coba and so we weren’t alone for more than 20 or 30 minutes before a group of five 20-something Americans showed up. One of them was in the Peace Corps in the region and the others were his friends visiting on Spring break. They climbed the pyramid quietly and then, once at the top, moved silently out of view. In all, Jordan, Tamar, Helen and I had this pyramid to ourselves for the better part of an hour.

All four of us did climb to the top. And all four of us made it safely down again, thanks in large part to the rope that dangles down the center of the steps. Getting down with young children intact is nerve wracking to be sure.

Of course, nothing but peace, serenity and a sense of wonder exudes from this image. It represents how I wish I could look at the world around me on a daily basis. And perhaps that’s why I find myself attracted to it time and again.

 

 

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