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The flight of life, from the underworld to heaven

In the bowels of the largest rainforest reserve in Mexico is a hidden cenote. Its interior, rarely visited, attests to the presence of nocturnal guests. Each sunset indicates the beginning of one of the most incredible natural shows and hitherto unknown. Dark wings arise from the swirling depths. The picture in the sky is seen backlit. It is a large column with millions of bats that scatter fleetingly among the tree branches. Let’s fly, the jungle awaits!

The bat volcano is home to the largest community of chiroptera in Mexican territory. It is located in Campeche within a protected habitat, the area subject to ecological conservation Balam-Kú, a region complementary to the Mesoamerican biological corridor of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, the second largest natural lung in the American continent and the first Mixed Heritage of Humanity for UNESCO in the country.

Various species inhabit it, from amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, plant species and more than two million bats become the most important pollinators in the entire jungle. They are active seed dispersers, facilitating self-reforestation. In addition, we can help pollination of plants and devour possible pests. These mammals represent an important ecological link. And his movement moved the converted into an active awareness. As necessary today as well known in ancient times.

Venerated Wings. Already the first human settlements in the area knew them. The Maya looked closely at the bats, calling them Zotz. By their nocturnal habit they were masters of life and death. Beings of the underworld. Valued and included in the Mayan worldview through steles, codices and vessels that portrayed day by day.

Just 8 kilometers away from the cave of bats, is the archaeological zone Balam-kú. In one of its temples, inside a tomb and as part of a funeral offering, unique dishes were found with four painted bats. They are represented with extended wings and drops of blood in the mouth. Posing with wings extended denotes being in flight, as if they were leaving the underworld. It is a symbolism used to understand the way of the rulers to another world, towards the bottom of the cave.

The sense of travel. The interior of the Mayan jungle hides magic behind it. The senses are sharpened by walking cobbled roads. Listen to the howl of the monkeys. Sniff the essence of orchids and feel the texture of the leaves. There is no doubt that nature shows infinite forms of life. And the green landscape invites us to become traveling explorers discovering natural wonders and watching carefully the resurgence of millions of bats at sunset, to reflect then that taking flight is not only to spread the wings but to explore the sacred fascination.

Berenice Ceballos García.