Alright, go ahead, get it out. Breathe… Worst playground joke ever. Yes, this is probably the reason we never learned about the place in school. How exactly would the teacher introduce it? No one knows the origin of the name either, so translating it to English as “Rock Puma” (the lake being in the shape of a puma chasing a rabbit) or “Crag of Lead” is not academically sound.
But that’s a shame, because this lake so high up in the Andes along the Peru/Bolivia border has a fascinating heritage. It is essentially the birthplace of
This lake, this source of creation, is also the bed to which retired Incan souls return when their journey is done.
They still live on them today.
Some names simply do not translate well. I should know. I grew up with the surname “Buttcane.” Hysterical, I know. No child should know that many “inappropriate” jokes by age 8—to use my daughter’s favorite word. To all those people out there who deliberately name their kid Bambi, Starlight, Tequila, or Legend, you do not amuse me.
Imagine living in a small rural town and you come up in the lunch line:
“No, Butt-cane, like your bottom and a walking stick.”
And the whole class shouts, “BUTTCANE!”
My brother and sister still carry the name. They claim it is a nearly faultless character gauge. I can’t argue with that. The worst of the comedians tend to show up right away as people to watch out for. A newly hired pharmacists who launches right into an elementary school knee-slapper? Didn’t last more than a couple months before she was caught dipping into the controlled substances cabinet for a little extra take-home pay.
It is effective.
Anger, resentment, self-loathing, a vicious need to establish respect. The three of us Buttcane children were gifted academically, but speaking for myself alone, that is where I found my power. The snickers stopped abruptly when you were the only person capable of helping them pass the next Trigonometry test. And I didn’t help anyone who snickered, believe me. When you are that angry, that desperate for peace from all the teasing, compassion isn’t high on your list.
Sometimes we even manage to forgive ourselves and those young children who found their own power through words. Not really realizing what they were doing with that power. Not sophisticated enough to understand the enormity of what they wielded.
That’s fair. Most adults aren’t either.
There is power behind words, hidden temples and cities beneath the surface of that collection of letters. From these the word, the universe is created.
Watch which ones you create with yours.
Sacred Destinations: Lake Titicaca
Ancient Temple Found Under Lake Titicaca
Sacred Sites: Lake Titicaca
Tough Life of Titicaca Islanders
The Myths and Marvels of Lake Titicaca
Wikipedia: Lake Titicaca
Wikipedia: Uru People
Uncovering the 2000 Year Old Underwater Ruins of Lake Titicaca