January 8, 2017
The journal of this project was never going to be a travel log. There are thousands of books, websites, and paid advertising to tell you the stories of Costa Rica. Although, as I sat on the deck of our rented home in the hills above Dominical those last few days and the thoughts about the purpose, the challenges and the outcome of the project over the last 6 months, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place. From all directions, there were birds making sounds I had never heard. Resident toucans sat in the trees and watched the Capuchin monkeys eat fruit from the palms on the other side of the driveway. The toucans seemed fine sharing the lot and, in some way, seemed amused by the antics and constant chatter of the monkeys. They sounded like kittens and played with the same energy. The toucans usually sat solitary on a branch. They never stood in pairs—they were independent and looked about with confidence rarely making a sound in our presence even though we encouraged them with silly human whistling. Mostly they ignored us completely as we snapped photo after photo, only occasionally turning their head to give us a casual one-eye as if we were as silly as the monkeys.
Every day was the perfect temperature. Shorts, tank top, and flip flops were the only things I wore even though I had packed several sweatshirts thinking it might cool down at night. It did, but only about 5 degrees. There were bugs I had never see outside a zoo and on some days a gentle rain would come and go like a whisper from a lover passing through. It was rare you wanted to move out of the rain. It was usually—at least that time of year—gentle and quick.
Around eleven in the morning, the birds got quiet and took their naps as the heat and humidity barreled in and sat on me like a blanket. Some days my skin was never dry, almost sticky with a layer of sweat but I didn’t mind.
In the distance, I could hear a weed-whackers and their attempt to hold back the rain forest. It was a futile effort. The forest left alone is unstoppable. It shares space with us knowing how inferior we are and how little we understand about life and purpose and sacrifice. We are so eager to tear down and rebuild our concepts of beauty—the unsustainable myths against time. The forest has no such concerns. All the weed whacking activity is necessary if we are to share the forest, but it is no different than putting up fences in the suburbs. Eventually, when we are gone, the forest will take it all back and quickly it will look like we were never there at all.
Things had fallen into place since our arrival. In only two months a lifetime of change had occurred. Moment by moment from the very beginning, events unfolded and lit a path. That morning on the deck I was trying to bring it all together in my mind—so much had happened. I wanted to arrange all the pieces—like a puzzle. I wanted them to fit—not all perhaps—not even neatly, but somehow form a shape I could recognize. My life had shifted—everything had changed and I wanted to touch the edges of it, but so many pieces were loose and flew around like balloons on strings. There were now so many possibilities.
It was not that I needed absolutes—I have lived my life on the side of a balloon clinging to a smooth surface that could pop at any moment and drop me to earth like a ripe pear—intact but bruised and unappealing. Insecurity was no foreign thing to me but the stress of that thought was always close—sitting on my shoulder with its bony butt and tiny sharp claws and whispering in my ear all sorts of negativity. My son criticized me for being negative—critical of things—always telling me I needed to chill and think positive. They were lessons I had learned by the end of this project—although old habits die hard.
It was a project for me, too. I wanted out of my life—not death, although there were times that black sword cut across a thought—a completely wonderful thought, tainting it with doubt. It would have been so easy to just give it up—to sit around and follow along. I was past my life—past the best young parts. These years were the remainder—the fifteen or so good ones left. How good would the remainder be? I started out creating a life transition several years ago with my decision to buy a trailer and travel, write, think… All I knew for sure it that I had to do something else and that included taking risks.
And so it continues…