Dry leaves are rustling under my feet as I make my way deeper off the paved path, where sunlight does not reach the ground because of the thick foliage above. It looks like someone spilled a giant bucket of sepia to cover this part of the park canvas, with the exception of a few resilient greens that are making their way to the skies. A good way to ensure not getting a spider web on your face is to extend your arm in front of you and wave it in the direction in which you are going, and that is precisely what I am doing.
"Why don't you sit right over here?" I suggest, pointing to a spot in the middle of dry leaves and branches. Marcelo trustingly follows my instructions and sits cross legged on a dry branch that cracks under his weight. He puts his right palm facing up and notices a bright green leaf dotted with yellow hanging on a thread of spider web. The leaf had caught my eye and I instinctively guided Marcelo to it so that it can become an element of our photo shoot. As Marcelo sits there, just focused on that leaf, it starts spinning, faster and faster, unwinding the problems and worries from our minds. And as it twirls and twirls, my shutter clicks and clicks, and both Marcelo and I are silent. He is meditating on the leaf and I am holding my breath to capture this intimate moment.
This little meditation sets our photoshoot to a great start. We squeeze ourselves from the murk under the banyan tree that had originally lured us into that section of the park with its intricately intertwining long slender roots.
Meet Marcelo. a kind soul from Peru, a yogi, a tree whisperer, a Thai massage expert, an advocate of yoga as a way to quiet your mind and find inner peace.
I lead Marcelo to another tree with which I became acquainted on my previous photoshoot in this park. "How would you feel about climbing this tree?" I ask, and in two seconds Marcelo is already up on the tree, beaming with a smile of a mischievous kid. I take several photos of him up in the tree, while he gets to indulge the little boy in him, climbing the giant branch higher and higher. And then the wise Marcelo returns - he closes his eyes in a pensive embrace of the thick branch.
After the tree climbing we find another leaf that begs to be a part of Marcelo's photos. This one is a huge round one, more wide than it is long, almost heart shaped, bright orange and red. It looks a little bit like a heart and has an outline of a beautiful tree.
We conclude our photoshoot on the beach where Marcelo works his Thai massage magic on a futon and with assistance of his friend Tasia who volunteered to help. It was a wonderful session, peaceful, infused with good energy.
The images I love the most are of Marcelo meditating in a tree, and the one with the twirling leaf. And when my mind starts doing just that - twirling - I will take myself back to the peacefulness of that afternoon.
To get to know Marcelo even better, connect with him on Facebook and visit one of his yoga on the beach classes.