Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter Getaway: letter from A.Y.

oops, i accidentally
opened this letter...

TO: vvb
FR: A.Y.

~-~-~-~-~ guest ~-~-~-~-~
by A.Y. Stratton
~-~-~-~-~ guest ~-~-~-~-~

My yearning to travel began when I was young. Or maybe it was genetic. My father loved to talk about foreign lands with exotic names: Basra, Bagdad, Shanghai, Cairo, places where battles were fought, people were enslaved, gold was discovered and ancient artifacts were hidden, waiting for the next adventurer to mine them.

Many nights instead of reading to my brother and me, Dad would make up his own series of adventures. The “Cloud Car,” a puff of whiteness with a face, drifted to our bedroom windows to give us a ride to a distant land. The stories always ended the same way. We’d wake up in our own beds with a souvenir from Morocco or Alaska, Hong Kong or Paris.

It’s not surprising that the first time I got to see some ancient ruins, I fell in love. My husband and I and our kids were visiting my brother and his family in London. Near the ancient gate of the city, I gazed at the Roman ruins and knew I had to see more, lots more.

Italy, Greece, Turkey—did I mention how much my father loved telling stories set in Istanbul? We visited many ruins, so many I decided I needed to learn more about the science and history of archaeology.

Soon I was collecting information on Mayan ruins that lay hidden for centuries. I finally persuaded my husband to go on an archaeological tour along the Ruta de Maya, the path of the Mayans.

Surrounded by the expansive archeological site of Copan, in Honduras, we stood at the foot of the famous staircase, while an attractive young archeologist/guide described its reconstruction, and happened to mention the “books” the Mayans produced.

They had books? I hadn’t known that. The archaeologist explained the Maya recorded their scientific and historic data by drawing hieroglyphs on paper made from tree bark, folded like an accordion to form a book, a codex.

The archaeologist added one more tidbit: in the 16th Century most of the codices were burned by the Spanish Conquistadores, as the Inquisition had ordered.

I was struck by the loss of knowledge and culture. Think what the discovery of just one codex might do for the history of a mighty civilization.

Our archeologist then said the words that gave me the idea for my book: a few of the codices survived, because they had been carried back to Europe as souvenirs and rediscovered in the 19th Century.

My imagination took over. I thought what if there was one more codex hidden deep in the Mexican rain forest? What if there was a map indicating its hiding place? And what if a handsome Mexican-American archeologist inherited that map, and bad guys try to steal it? What if a feisty, independent woman met the archeologist and became entangled by passion and intrigue?

And what, I finally wondered, if A. Y. Stratton wrote that story and got it published?

The Path to ”Buried Heart” by A.Y. Stratton
© 2011. All rights reserved.

~-~-~-~-~ guest ~-~-~-~-~
by A.Y. Stratton
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* image source mailbox, postcard - Copan, Honduras

~~* Winter Getaway schedule *~~

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