Exotic Place. QP

Exotic Place. Cenote.


A cenote (English: /sɪˈnoʊti/ or /sɛˈnoʊteɪ/; American Spanish: [seˈnote]) is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater. The regional term is specifically associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, where cenotes were commonly used for water supplies by the ancient Maya, and occasionally for sacrificial offerings. The term derives from a word used by the lowland Yucatec Mayatsʼonot—to refer to any location with accessible groundwater.

There are at least 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico.

As luck would have it, I went to the Yucatán Peninsula two summers in a row about the same time of year end of August to early September. Both trips were planned by boyfriends I was dating at the time. So, different boyfriends same place sort of. First trip included an extra week in Merida, lay over in Mexico City, and all inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen. Second trip, Airbnb in Playa del Carmen, cenotes, and snorkeling and deep sea fishing. All was great. Did I mention I’m not really a beach person. Lol. I got very involved in Mayan research, of course. I visited many sites and climbed pyramids.

On my second trip to the area, I had my heart set on swimming in the cenotes. It’s very touristy sometimes or so I had been told. That’s ok. Our Airbnb host set us up with an excursion, two other couples, to visit 5 cenotes for swimming and Coba for climbing the pyramid. It was a great day full of adventures. Mayan lunch. Each cenote was very different. There were others I didn’t go in - like cave cenotes. Although I did go in one of the bigger cave cenotes and lived to tell about it. The bottom was soft white minerals making the water a sick ice blue. They were all fascinating. One was incredible, clear turquoise water and everyone swam. The jungle setting and vegetation surrounding the limestone pool was picturesque. I took a series of photographs with natural intense lighting playing. (Our small company was at each site on our own which was nice instead of piling onto big tour groups.)

I selected my favorite photo of the greenery around the cenote to paint for exotic place. Mexico, the jungle, cenotes - all exotic - check. The painting labored on in the beginning dully. At some point, thinking time is running short, let some magic breathe some life in. Loosen up. Complementary colors, bouncing of the light, remembering the feel, all made a difference and in the end achieved what I was looking for.

A poem about cenotes by Jenna Forlorn:


Mayan Cenotes

carved from Yucatán limestone

hide sacred treasures...

Barnacled caves grant

access to saline realms

under the surface...

Blue sunlight filters

through green ferns and crevices,

but only so far...

Icarus sought gods

up high, but the Popol Vuh

references depths...

Strike another pose

before making your descent

into Xibalba...


Cenote. Watercolor on paper.

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