In the past we used to say the urco
(mountain) is crying, the old woman is crying, and that if we send verses up the rain will stop.' The fire is associated with cooking and the noise of the eruptions with lightning and thunder.
Upon reaching forty thousand feet altitude, I heard on the intercom an almost ancestral chant as the copilot recited the array of mountains visible from north to south: "Cayambe, Sara Urco
, Antisana, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Tungurahua, El Altar, Sangay." I could not only see the mountains he named but also the plantations reaching west to the Pacific, and to the east, the carpet of treetops that unrolled to infinity.