In a valley of the Peruvian Andes, our guide, a descendant of the Incas demonstrated his people’s ceremony for making offerings to the sacred mountains. He arranged three coca leaves in a fan and held them to his lips while he faced each mountain in turn and spoke its name then placed the leaves on a boulder. The timing of our late-April visit was suggested by our agent, an attempt to sidle between the rainy and hot seasons. The weather did cooperate nicely for our trip, but who’s to say whether that was luck, professional timing, or because we’d paid our respects to weather-controlling mountains.
In June, Steve and I set off for Newfoundland with none of the above. We spent our first night taking cover in a Kansas carwash, hoping the tornado wouldn’t take our camper to Oz. After touring a few Canadian historic sites in freezing drizzle, I wondered if an offering might soften Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) up a little. Since coca leaves weren’t an option, I started picking up at least a couple pieces of litter every day. I can’t say that the weather was suddenly wonderful, but when I needed sunshine for extra-important tours, I got it. Then, on our return through Kansas, a glowering thunderstorm held back while we set up and grilled our steaks. We sat down to eat as it cut loose and rained all night.