This magnificent tree, one of the largest in the Central American Rainforest, is a very straight light gray barked tree with a unique flat top crown. Its huge butressed roots provide shelter for bats, and the transition from the underworld to the "middle ground" and then to the heavens. The "middle ground" is populated by huge anteaters that claw into the large termite nests in the branches. The crown is very special indeed. The branches radiate out almost horizontally, forming a perfect roost site above the canopy for the magnificent Harpie Eagle, the largest eagle. It soars aloft from this roost across the canopy in search of small game , which can also include some large catches such as anteaters and monkies. It is the Mayan symbol for God of the Heavens, as the bat is their symbol for God of the Underworld.Although no definative answer has been found for what happened to the Mayans, it appears that it is a combination of factors. Its sucesses led to the destruction of too much forest for corn production. This led to less animal production, a vital supplement to their corn diet. Water was always at a premium, and subject to severe droughts each year and cyclically. Expansion of the empire led to more warfare. Sacrificing of all types of their most valuable possessions led to loss of trading resources such as gold, jade, feathers, foods etc. and the blood sacrifices increased to dangerous levels. When these failed to gain the favor of the Gods, doubts about the heirarchy increased and the civilization collapsed, dispersed and vanished under the jungle. Their are many lessons here. Environmental problems, rapidly increasing population, climatic challenges, logistical problems, dietary problems, authoritarian structures, ritualistic superstions out of control, and corruption of the system etc. all combined to end this great civilization. Sounds all too familiar, eh? But the people of the corn as described in the Popol Vol still persist. Hopefully, this knowledge will led us to live in greater harmony with the forest, nature and God. Some excerpts from the following links:
"Although the Mayan's great cities and temples were already abandoned by the time the Spanish conquered those lands, the ruins intrigued travelers since their "rediscovery" by explorers in the early 1800's. For those with a passion for travel and delving into ancient mysteries, visiting these strangely beautiful and haunting places today can satisfy the "Indiana Jones" in us."
"The cities were built in such a way that it could be seen for days as one ventured through the rain forest from the coast, which in those days was a journey that could only be taken on foot. The ruins of Mexico include the first and last pyramid that were made by the Mayan. There were 500 ruins but now there are only 34, but the studies have revealed a lot about Mayan culture."
"Introduction to the extraordinary archaeological wonders left behind by the ancient Mayan civilizations of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and southern Mexico. The real Inca Trail is a walking route that leads through the mountains above the Urubamba river, following (at least partly) the course of an old Inca roadway."
"A tree is a way of thinking about a project that allows one to work on the parts, and on the parts of the parts, without losing sight of the whole. Mayan Plants or Mayan Ethnobotany is the study of the traditional uses of plants by the Classical Mayan. It is a painstaking love and is only performed by people with questionable levels of sanity!"