As a part of our apprenticeship program this year, we are asking the apprentices to read two books which have been core to our own wild unfolding. We are both currently re-reading one of these books, “The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic” by Martin Prechtel. This morning, I came across these words and felt that they speak so intimately to this moment in time. This part of his story is set just after the devastating earthquake in Guatemala in 1976 in a small village known as Cuchumaquic. Martin and some other young men have brought what little food and water they could muster to this village, whose members are now sitting atop piles of rubble where their homes, pots for cooking, and any remaining foods are completely buried. They sit with their dead and dying, they are starving. Life will never be the same for them.
“Instead of individuals running around trying to hoard things and keep them away from the desperate masses of other individuals doing the same thing, as happened in the bigger cities, in these thrashed and flattened little old-time villages they knew if there was nothing left to lose, then what is not to be gained by being happy together, not sharing the little of nothing they still had? They saw the remaining lives their bodies had left as a miraculous gift of ash and water put together and made sentient by the Holy in Nature just long enough to kiss, laugh, and be together on an Earth that obviously did not need humans at all but who had always nonetheless fed us….
…But the fact that real peace had probably happened here one time for a little while meant peace had probably happened somewhere else just as small and just as real, and probably happened a lot more in times past. Best of all, it could most likely happen again. Did we need a disaster to find peace? I know, at least for myself, that even though this peace as we knew it that day may have had to flee and disappear from view on account of those who couldn’t see it, coursing back into the magic doorways of the spirit houses of the mountain gods from whence it sprang, it certainly lives on in the shiny eyes of the Indigenous wilderness of all our souls where the everyday civilized mind can neither follow nor see. But even so, more significant still is that the unexpected and positive shock of just the possibility of such a peace existing in such a tangibly experienced conscious reality kicked me awake and all of the convenient mental beach of cynical know-it-all-ness where the disillusioned love to bask, such that a kind of furnace of stars began sparkling in that moment inside the still-impressionable mud of that big tearful oven of my heart of those early years as to not only warm and brighten for me the spiritually cold night of this numb mechanical age we’ve all been dropped into to live, but to constantly give me a blazing and noble hope whenever I have allowed myself to doubt the reality of this spark of Peace.”
This book is truly a gift of the possibility of the human heart and certainly feeds both of us in a time that could otherwise consume us with the devastation of human greed and ignorance. We will leave you with these further inspiring words from Martin:
“But make no mistake: that peace of Cuchumaquic lives somewhere inside all of us, inside all people, whether awake to it or not, in the form of a powerful tiny magical seed, and there peace lies waiting alive, behind our mental crust, knowing when the day of a more favorable change of spiritual climate occurs in which this seed like peace itself can be openly cultivated and grown again, the peace I knew at Cuchumaquic will come busting again through the sporadic cracks that the Holy causes to quake into the rigid crusts of what in our fear we have rationalized as real.”
Many blessings and love to all.