Kissed by a Llama
By Jasmine Tritten
Llamas fascinated me. Their huge dark, curious eyes and long wooly coats caught my attention in Bolivia where I went on a trip in 1999 to visit my son while he served in the Peace Corps.
One day, he took me sailing in a small boat on Lake Titicaca to the Island of the Sun, where we spent the night at a hostel. In the morning, we meandered down the slope of a green mountainside. No sounds to be heard, only silence. I stopped to take a deep breath of the cool crisp air while looking into the crystal-clear water below.
As I glanced around the landscape, my eyes fixated on an old woman who walked with a llama on a rope. Her golden-brown, wrinkled skin glistened in the sunlight. On top of her head, she wore a gray bowler hat indicating she was an Aymara descendant. A turquoise shawl covered her shoulders. With pride, she showed off her pet llama to us like it was her child. The tan-colored llama carried hay and sticks in a striped blanket across its back. I wanted to touch the animal but didn’t get close enough. The caring and loving manner in which the woman related to her pet deeply touched me. Maybe all she owned was this llama. When I photographed her, a toothless smile opened up from one ear to the other.
The image of the scene stuck in my mind. Never before did I think of llamas as pets. They just seemed to be some exotic animals to look at in a zoo. After returning home, I felt compelled to paint a picture of the woman with her llama, since she moved me deeply with the love she expressed towards her pet. I said to myself, One day I want to own a llama and walk with it on a rope just like her.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish