I stare at the layer upon layer of terraces holding Machu Picchu high and snug against the mountain wall, picturing each terrace abundant in crops, overflowing with pretty yellow squash flowers, prickly with potato stems.
Each terrace defies the odds, genius work from the ancient world: Composed of a layer of gravel, then sand, then either topsoil or dirt, depending on its use as either growing field or vista. Built basketfull after basketfull, each load carried by llama back, the terraces are a modern miracle, soil and matter drugged up from the valley below to create the most perfect planters: Holding just the right amount of moisture, they never flood or leach dry, rainfall filtering through so exactly so as to produce not even a standing puddle.
They are a permaculturalist’s wet dream.
To top it off, the Incas use their crazy awesome farming know-how to collect specimens wide and far, relics of their botanical bounty still here for us to admire, a living trading post. I imagine this the New World’s version of Nebuchadnezzar’s Hanging Gardens of Babylon, orchids a-plenty.