I'm sitting in a boat on Lake Titicaca at 12,580 feet above sea level. I've had a couple of crackers and a few sips of chicken soup since the condors, 2 days ago. The nausea from the altitude sickness persists, but I've become accustomed to it by now, more or less. I've taken San Pedro again, just prior to this boat trip.
The boat takes us to Taquile Island, rising 866 feet out of the lake, where tiny people hoist several suitcases onto their backs and sprint up the mountain ahead of us. Don Theo helps me up the steps, hundreds of them, I think. I stop frequently to catch my breath.
Late in the afternoon, we climb many more steps to the top of the island. The 96-year-old village shaman makes this same climb every day. Don Theo says we are going to harness the natural magnetic energy of the island. As if on cue, the thunderclouds roll in and we are surrounded by a vast panorama of lightning. I have never seen so many lightning strikes at one time. It is dark and cold. I've had only 3 saltine crackers all day. The downward climb will be difficult. But I am completely engaged with the lightning.
In May of '03, there was a gentle crackle of lightning when I told my recently-deceased father that I was open to communication with him. Two weeks prior to my trip, on October 15, there was a huge lightning strike 5 minutes before the hospice nurse called to tell me that my mother had passed 5 minutes ago. I am well-acquainted with lightning.