Peru: Rhythm of the Amazon

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Every morning the Amazon wakes me with a new symphony. One day the tempo of the rain, next day the pulsating sounds of howler monkeys, and today it’s the electric strain of sunrise matching the beat of my heart.

Even with little sleep, the rhythm of the day has me fired up with what lies ahead. Granted, a cup of coffee would help the process but the Amazon found a solution to this as well by placing a large spider and her web inside my bed netting to jolt me awake.

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Hiking along the riverbank, I can’t get over how natural this place feels. The jungle and river give off energy – a rhythm – in tune with every movement of my body. I feel transformed, in sync with my surroundings.

All this beauty is not just seen through my eyes, but felt with all my senses. I’ve found my way back to nature.

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Years ago, I wrote about my time in the Masai Mara. A place very foreign compared to where I was born and raised, but during my stay I felt at ease as if I was home “… jumping into the life of Kenya, time slowed down and I synchronized with the culture around me. It was as if I had returned to a forgotten home. Being where I should be. Feeling alive.”

The Amazon has created similar feelings; the rhythm of this foreign land matches my own.

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“There is a curandero (shaman) in my village who has a very special relationship with this land.” Joaquin, our guide, tells us while showing a plant used in local medicine. “This shaman understands the energy of the plants, of the jungle, of life – and when we are not right, he helps us recover by harmonizing our energy with that of the Amazon.”

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Logical. This philosophy follows the same thread of truth as the ancient Hindus who saw all matter in the universe as energy. The same logic physicists understand today, as Einstein, Tesla, and others state: all matter is energy. We are simply vibrations and frequencies at the atomic level.

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The nervous laugh of our guide wakes me from my quantum daydream. “We have a small problem…” ahead lies what appears to be a lake but should be our trail. “We can circle around this, but it will add a few more hours… or if you are adventurous?” he asks with a nervous glint in his eyes.

My senses ignite. The idea of wading through Amazonian waters, uncertain where our next step will take us ~ now this is what I signed up for. To make the day more perfect, the skies open up and the downpour begins.

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Nature should be surrendered to. Battling things beyond our control allows negativity to destroy the day. Amid chaos, find an interesting alternative and run with it. Resist the urge to try to conquer everything. There is an underlying rhythm and if noticed it will bring peace and a smile.

Everything at the atomic level generates a unique vibration, a rhythm, and getting “in tune” to your surroundings creates harmony and makes it easier to find balance. These are moments when life seems easier and “luck” takes over.

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Rhythm ~ laughter from the group at my expense when I venture and forge my own route where, of course, there can only be one conclusion: water pouring over the top of my boot.

Rhythm ~ artistic patterns of life; from the extremes of the Amazon canopy stretching out to infinity, to the incredible micro-scenes that dot the floor of the jungle, I could stare at both the whole day.

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“Everything is made up of energy, each giving off their vibrations,” Joaquin muses over a local beer our final night in the jungle. “If you wish to better understand the energy of the Amazon, I can make an appointment with a curandero for you next time if you wish.”

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“There is a drink called ayahuasca, made from a mixture of an Amazonian vine known as Banisteriopsis caapi, a hallucinogenic drink which medicine men use to see the energy of those they heal.”    

“With the help of the curandero, it is possible to connect more closely to the natural world.” Joaquin takes a final sip and adds, “This is where you can really understand the pulse of the Amazon.”

While I consider this option, this place alone is all I need to understand the sounds and feel of nature. The Amazon speaks directly to my instincts, the core of who I am.

“Vibrations and frequencies at the atomic level is how we communicate with the universe.” Never have I felt more comfortable with this theory.

Watching the river and jungle from above, I breathe in the fresh, humid air. I’ve no idea what fermented air smells or tastes like, but this is the most apt description I can give. The air both feeds and accentuates my hunger for the jungle.

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On the boat heading home I wonder if I will be able to call on this connection to nature when needed. To find those moments when I flow with my surroundings, find the potential of the day and let go.

I’ve learned a lot here: the rhythm of life, the rhythm of the Amazon, the rhythm of Perú.

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The Amazon is an amazing part of Perú, a great place to explore. A quote from my sister, Sandi: “Travel with you is not so much a vacation as it is an adventure.” I think it is a compliment…

Throughout our trip, one thing held true with all the great people we met along the way: one smile can spread into many smiles ~ and life becomes infinitely beautiful.

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223 Comments on “Peru: Rhythm of the Amazon

      • Bucharest after Peru? I do not think … it’s not logical! There are many wonderful places in the world, and Bucharest is not among them! The most beautiful things in Bucharest are women! 😀

  1. Most enjoyable post, Randall. It brought back memories of my time along the Napo River 4 decades ago, which I remember vividly. Your photos are captivating and the one of the macaws in flight is wonderful!

    • Wow, Eliza, right after my trip I was looking at other places to visit and Ecuador/Napo River was one of two I am considering at some point in the future (El Savador another based on a recommendation). Like you, I think these memories will stick with me for quite a while. Thank you.

      • At that time, conditions were very primitive with these tribes only recently opened up to foreigners. I imagine tours are a well-oiled machine now, hopefully benefitting locals and encouraging protection via eco-touring.

      • Agree, I think back then it must have been absolute perfection as far as looking at the land and its people, and seeing it so purely. Peru, fortunately, is perhaps the leader in eco-tourism – the environment means everything to them, and it is beautiful.

      • Glad to hear that. From what I’ve read, The Inca Trail seems to be quite developed now and pollution is reportedly a problem. Humans seem, unfortunately, to tend to kill what they love.

  2. A lovely tribute to nature’s rhythms, and the exquisite beauties and mysteries of the Amazon. Great photos, Randall.

    • There was so much to see that it was difficult to take it all in – but with a subject like this I could not go wrong. Thank you very much, Jet, and hope spring treats you and your camera/adventures well.

    • Thank you, Timothy, it felt good to be far away from work and engulf in something perfect. Cheers to a great spring!

  3. There is so much wisdom and beauty in this post Randall. Thank you. May we learn to better tune and flow with nature in all aspects of our lives. Maybe then we can create a sustainable world that includes us humans. Meanwhile, enjoy your friends, family, and adventures!

    • This is a great comment, Brad, thank you. It seems the more we take things slow and easy, the more clear the path we should take appears. The jungle and river sure gave a great perspective. Wish you a great coming weekend.

      • Those photos were from my sister’s android cell phone, and I was pretty astonished by the quality. Made me even pause to think if a larger camera was even necessary ~ a very brief pause, however… 🙂

  4. Welcome back! I missed reading your posts, but this one definitely made up for all the missing ones. 🙂 Magnificent photos!

    • Part of the fun of being there was knowing I’d soon be fired up to write up a new post 🙂 Felt good to have the camera in hand for much of the day. Looking forward to getting back into the WP universe. Cheers!

  5. I can imagine the heart pumping wake up to the spider. LOL! Thank you for sharing your amazing adventure.

    • The spider was something else. It was pitch black (4:30am), and something was rifling through my pack so I grabbed my headlight and turned it on only to be blinded by the reflection off my white netting. Since I was a little awake, I turned the light to where the opening was on my netting and a spider and her web was right in my face… I had to be quiet, but I am sure one or two words were said that are not repeatable in public. 🙂 Thank you, Judy!

  6. Randall, happy to see you back! The photos are incredible, especially the sunrise & sunset. You know, my favorites! 📚🎶 Christine

    • Thank you, Christine, this place was made for you, the sunrises and sunsets here – each one quite different than the other. Great to be back, and thank you!

  7. This post vibrates with the frequency that resonates with my sense and mind. The pictures are awesomely beautiful and the narratives just move your mind in the same tune.. Excellent!

    • Thank you, YC, there are things we do not understand (e.g., the soul, emotions, etc…) that are tied to vibrations and frequencies which is why I think words, music, and art can have such a profound affect on us. Great comment, and thank you very much.

  8. Sounds like a real Celestine Prophecy experience, Randy. Warmed to read you found and appreciated the beauty of energy, at her core.

    • Great to hear from you, Eric, and thank you. I do remember the CP, but forgot that it took place (or at least part of it) in Peru. This is the brilliance with many old philosophies, they can make sense out of “reality.” For me it is the Dao de Jing which aligns perfectly with my thinking. Wish you well, my friend.

      • You cite a universal/broad based work as aligned with your thinking. This surprises me not, Randy. The Dao de Jing is beautifully evident in you sensory images, words and stories. Many of us appreciate your complimentary contributions.

  9. Hi Randall, I can feel your sense of wonder in the rhythms and energy of nature when reading your words. Your photos are marvelous (the Macaws!) and they tell the story along with your words so well. What a fantastic experience in the Amazon- you look so happy! Great to see you posting.

    • Hi Jane, and I can’t tell you how good it felt to pick these photos and put together the words for this post ~ absolutely a liberating feeling. A mood I hope to create more often this year, and you are a good model for me to follow for inspiration. Thank you and wish you continued great shooting.

      • Thanks, Randall. There’s a rhythm and flow to inspiration, isn’t there? I love when it happens. Happy travels and happy creativity.

  10. As always Randall your thoughts meld perfectly with your beautiful images. Can’t believe you went headlong into the “lake” ! Happily no crocs had wandered in 😊. Nice to see your smiling face, and the bonus shot of your sister. Are you twins? No one could ever question your shared genes! Lived the post—glad to see you back, if only briefly.

    • It is funny, Tina, I do have a twin sister but this is not her 🙂 This is my oldest sister, who I have a lot in common with – especially photography. We can put up with each other’s crap without too much problem, so traveling with her is fun. We did see a caiman on our night hike, a small one which we waded into an algae covered pond…and now I think back on the intelligence of doing so 🙂 Our guide was great though, he saved me from fire ants crawling on my backpack and then telling me to back away from the bullet ant as in his words “its bite will make any man cry for hours…” I seriously do not know how explorers from centuries ago survived, of course, I guess most likely did not and those that did had AMAZING local guides to help them. Thank you, Tina, wish you a great start to the spring.

  11. You’re back. Amazing photos as usual Randall. Lovely write-up too. I’ve missed your blog posts.

    • Thank you very much, Arlene, it feels good to write and was been great to hear from you while on my ‘sabbatical’ 🙂 Wishing you a great day and weekend ahead. Cheers!

  12. What a wonderful series of images and it sounds like this is the trip of a lifetime. You and your sister look very happy to be in this amazing place and as Jane says “Great to see you posting”

    • This was one of those trips I had long dreamt about, but never thought much of putting it in motion until a series of great events happened. It was during Peru’s raining season, but that made it even better – loved it. Thank you very much, Judy, for the comment and it is so cool to be back in the WP world again.

  13. A spider web inside the net is indeed better than coffee! These photos are beautiful and it makes me want to be in nature. Great post.

    • Jeff, I tell you I was fortunate. If it wasn’t for me having my headlight in my hands (it was pre-dawn), I would have planted face-first in the web with the spider waiting… a screaming, freaked out guy might have lost even more respect than almost drowning in the ‘lake’ 🙂 Really great fun, and I think you’ve seen enough in nature and around the world to know how perfect life can be (especially with a camera in hand).

    • Great words, I like this thought very much, thank you Maverick. Writing this post put me right back in the jungle again!

  14. Hello Randall,
    What a story! Your harmony of stunning images and thoughtful/thought-provoking words never fails to amaze 🙂
    I hope you are doing well, and happy Spring.

    Best,
    Takami

    • Hello Takami, this trip was the perfect introduction to spring for me ~ the green, the natural feel of the outdoors, and best yet the scenes I never before could have imagined. Wishing you the best, and look forward to see your work! Cheers.

    • Thank you, Edwin. I did hike the Amazon with my camera gear, but it was actually minimal. Only took my mirrorless Sony Alpha 7r and a new 24-70mm, 2.8/f GM lens, so traveled very light.

  15. Such a perfect time for a post from you to appear. Just as I return home from a long, strange voyage and lie awake, spun out from jet lag and weak from some kind of tropical “friend” I brought back with me, trying to process and integrate everything I’ve learned.

    What a perfect adventure you share, in all its facets. From the comical- I can just hear that scream when you saw the spider. How brilliant that someone got photographic evidence of your tramp through the water. 🤣That look on your face is priceless: uh-oh, can’t turn back now! But that’s how it’s done, isn’t it? Keep on going. I’m proud of you, son.

    Then there’s the philosophical/mystical – the frequencies that flow through all that is, and how Nature is the best medicine for bringing us back into alignment with the Infinite, leading us home. Your photos, as always, shine with a luminosity that shifts my perception into your realm of pure beauty.

    And, finally, the heart-warming. Nothing like creating beautiful memories with someone you love so much. And the connections we make along the way, even if they are as fleeting as smiles exchanged, are absolute treasures.

    Your sister’s words are a much-deserved compliment, Dalo. I’ve no doubt that every moment of life with you is an adventure. Thank you so very much for the inspiration.

    • Hey Julie, great to know the post had perfect timing – for me it felt great to write it and re-live the adventure. I hear you on the struggle to get back to health/restfulness after such travels, but the downtime also helps put the experience in perspective. I consider the spider/web story very lucky, as that morning, for the first time since I was in the jungle, I turned on my headlight before getting out of bed thus preventing a face-plant in the middle of the web 🙂 A quick curse, and I rolled out the other side!

      Nature is the perfect healer. For me, stress melts away when I get into the mountains/sea/river/jungle ~ and I get lost in it in every manner. This trip already has me thinking of the next adventure… And having the camera with me makes it fun as well, as I become more observant with camera in hand. You are right about being able to share memories and ideas which made traveling with my sister pretty great. Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment, Julie, and I hope you’re ready for the spring – wishing you a great Friday and coming weekend.

      • No trip to the jungle would be complete without a spider story. I have one involving multiple baseball mitt-sized monsters in a dark outhouse on the remote Upper Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. You don’t even want to know. Some things you never get over.

        Always dreaming of the next adventure…no better way to live. Cheers to wanderlust. 🙂

      • Papua New Guinea ~ now there is an adventure ready to happen. Always good to keep the dreams fresh and to be ready for the next adventure. Cheers!

  16. Lovely Randall. You work your own magic amidst the mysteries of nature. Thank you for the splendid images.

    • The gift we have, especially in the Pacific Northwest, are the many beautiful places of nature we can go grab a piece of magic and mystery. The Amazon was a bit overwhelming at times, which made it that much more addictive ~ thank you, John, for the great comment. I hope the spring brings much magic and mystery to you and your family.

  17. A colorful and adventurous trip in which I enjoyed every word and picture.Welcome back!

    • Hi Dana, thank you very much for the kind comment ~ and it feels great to have been able to post again and get back into things once more. Wishing you a great springtime ahead!

  18. Wow! The Amazon has always inspired a sense of mystery in my imagination. This post only further exacerbates my need to understand this complex and threatened region of the world. To see images of the wildlife and greenery strengthens my resolve to help preserve the “lungs of the world.” Here’s hoping your post helps to resonate at the atomic level and inspire action, Randall. Thanks for sharing! 😀

    • I definitely agree with you, Shawn. The Amazon and Peru both seemed to exist almost in another realm growing up, so my expectations were high prior to going. All expectations were passed and I think I’ll be reliving this experience for along time. Thank you, and wishing you and Tricia a great spring ahead.

  19. I love how, when I inhale in my living room in the middle of the city, I can smell the “fermented air” of the Amazon. Such a vivid experience through your words and pictures. Wonderful!

    • What a perfect comment, thank you very much, Jolandi. The smells and feel of the trip are still fresh with me – and I think whenever I need a reminder I’ll have the photos to take me back…or simply book another ticket to Peru. Either option, not too bad. Take care, and enjoy the coming weekend.

  20. On a gloomy early morning in Ohio reading your awakening on the Amazon I felt my remembered experience of the energy of Africa. It was at Masai Mara years ago on a two-week tour of Kenya where these profound sensations first pounded within me. Again several years later as I flew over dessert land on my way to Ghana I could feel the spirit of the land pulsating. It is real. I love your pictures, especially the blue and red birds and the sunbursts. Thanks for your magnificent piece on your adventure on the Amazon.

    • Great to hear this post brought back your memories of the Masai Mara & Ghana. There is something special about a place where while being totally foreign also feels as if you’ve been there your whole life; a new world opens up. The Masai Mara is an experience I think everyone should have ~ truly beautiful. I feel the same with the Amazon, similar feel but also so very different as it should be.
      Wishing you well.

  21. Fabulous. I’ve had Peru on my list of places to visit ever since, many years ago, watching a documentary called the Fight of the Condor. I want to go even more now.

    • Thank you, Mary. The last couple days of the trip, I did make it out to Colca Canyon with the soul purpose to see the Andean Condor and was not disappointed. I’ve not seen Flight of the Condor, but will have to check it out now – thank you. Peru will definitely not disappoint. The greatest surprise, the food was absolutely incredible – a trip there with the sole purpose of eating their cuisine would be well worth it alone.

  22. Randy, welcome back. I was also missing your insights and reflections on life. Just want I needed as spring has finally decided to arrive here at home. Glad to see and read about your latest adventure and joyful that Sandi was along for the experience. I really enjoy and look forward to them.
    Cheers.

    • Kevin, so good to hear a voice from the greatest city in the world. Just a couple days ago I was talking with one of my friends here who loves horse and the countryside so I told him all about the Round-Up. He then asked ‘what in the heck am I doing here, if I had Pendleton to go back to.” I loved it, told him just knowing that I return home at least a couple times a year is one of the best feelings I have which makes going out and exploring/working a bit easier. I’ve heard spring finally arrived after a brutal winter (I was under orders not to tell my parents how great the weather was in Peru!). It was great to have Sandi with me on this trip as well. Cheers and look forward to catching up with you. Let’er Buck!

  23. All matter is energy. Yes. This resonates deeply, as the Amazon did for you. Thanks once again for bring us on your beautiful journey.

    • It is, and knowing/believing this seems to make life a whole lot easier. Thank you, Susan, and wish you a great springtime.

  24. I’d been missing your voice and photos — but what a grand (re)entrance you’ve made! You’ve certainly passed along the jungle’s vibrations in this magnificent post.

    • Thank you very much, Heide. Felt good to have the camera in hand but mostly just to be able to take it all in and experience the jungle ~ wishing you a great spring and weekend. Take care.

  25. I’ll echo the “voices” of many other readers… I missed your blog, Randall! What an unexpected find today, and what a great read. It seems you found a great reminder of whence we’ve all come from.

    Hope to read from you again soon,

    Fabrizio

    • You put it very well, it is a great reminder of where we came from ~ part of who we are. Thank you very much, Fabrizio, and I hope the year has been treating you well so far.

  26. You certainly do get around! I can just sink into your images and stay there for awhile. Good to see you back again giving us all some inspiration!

    • This trip to Peru was one that arrived without much notice or thought. I was having a conversation with someone from Peru and pretty quickly realized I had some time I could skip out on work…and the next thing I knew…sloshing around in the Amazon. 🙂 Thank you and wishing you a great start to the spring.

  27. I remember meeting a shaman in Peru, and being interested enough to read up on shamanism. But even the cues were there I never made the connection with physics, quantum or otherwise. The world is a miraculous place, if you look close enough.

    Lovely pictures as usual. if I ever get back to Peru, I’ll need to see the Amazon side.

    • Peru really did surprise me in many way, perhaps the most surprising was the diversity of the different regions…and there is still a lot more I have yet to see. In many ways, almost every place you go will have great surprises in store if you look hard enough 🙂 Thank you, Dave, and I hope to read about your Amazonian adventures at some point!

  28. Hello Randall,
    Just as I was wondering why we had no posts from you, you posted an amazing piece. Scintillating photos, as usual! I do hope you made your connection with the Shaman….

    • It has been such a long time since I last posted, which made putting this one together quite fun. The connections made in Peru will last a lifetime, but I hope to make a return trip ~ there is still so much to see there. Then again, so much to see everywhere…SE Asia, Europe, the Americas, and India…I’ll need a few lifetimes but looking forward to seeing as much as I can. Cheers to you, and safe travels.

  29. “Resist the urge to try to conquer everything” how I so agree with this mindset. In a world where we are demanded to be better in everything, the thought of conquering it all can really be exhausting. I believe balance to every single thing in life is key to living a fulfilled life. As for the Amazon itself, I love how you captured its raw beauty. Sadly, it’s among those majestic forests that are dwindling in size thanks to human’s greed. This is a beautiful and refreshing post, Randall.

    • This was one of the beauties of my travels to Peru, dropping everything and forgetting about the conquering of life – and instead just enjoying the moments a day can bring. I suppose this is why it is great to stretch the legs every now and then and explore life ~ must create balance in life. Great to hear from you, Bama, and look forward to catching up on your adventures.

  30. I’ve been wondering when you would post again. Seeing the Amazon through your images and commentary was worth the wait.

    • Hi Jane, thank you for the wonderful words. To be able to sit down and have photos and words fill up my day again ~ a great feeling. I hope the spring is treating you well. Take care ~

  31. This post is throbbing with life; even the tiniest being has that amazing vitality.

    • Isn’t that just the beauty of life ~ the tiniest thing has more going on than we could ever imagine. Cheers, Sidran, and wish you a great weekend.

    • Thank you ~ one of those places where everywhere you look, you get swept away…not a better feeling.

  32. “All this beauty is not just seen through my eyes, but felt with all my senses…” I feel the same way. How positively magical.

    • There is not a better feeling than being able to sit back and sink into a scene ~ something I think you get quite often in your little oasis in Florida ~ makes for magical days and moments. Wishing you continues magic this spring, Wendy, thank you.

    • Thank you very much for the comment and link, Bridget. It seems a true sign of the times where around the world politicians are thinking short term…catastrophic thinking.

      • Yes, we are ruled by self-serving people of little vision :(. I hope within my heart that collectively we can together, overturn the tide of these climate change deniers.

  33. I have learned so much from these beautiful people and from their culture through studying shamanism. Feeling at home in this amazing vibration shows that your energy is light and open Randall! Thank you for sharing such a special experience. You captured it beautifully! 🙏🏻

    • I’d like to learn more from the Amazonian culture (Peruvian culture for that matter)…an incredible culture and history. It seems the shamanism here is very similar to the American Indian culture as well, so much to learn from them. Great to hear from you, Karen, especially with the way you could understand and react to the post. Wishing you a great weekend ahead.

  34. As I read your musings of the Amazon Adventure I was reminded of something I learned – probably read – years ago. A man can sit at the river every morning but with each new morning the river is not the same river and the man is not the same man.
    I thought of the same thing when I first came upon the John Lennon wall in my beloved Praha. I have been to the wall many times but it is never the same wall and I am never the same man.

    • “Not the same river; not the same man” ~ great wisdom and truth to these words, and not surprised they came from you. I’m heading back to Praha next week and look forward to seeing the John Lennon wall again and thinking of your words. Cheers to you and your family, wishing you a great springtime ahead.

  35. As breathtaking as always, my friend… both the images from your camera and the beauty you draw from the land.

    • Thank you very much, Sue. The river and jungle welcomed me with open arms, and it was fun to see the things I had before only dreamt about. Wishing you well ~

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