Sitting on this porch, I look out and see palm trees laden with coconuts, hibiscus bushes full of red flowers, and the grass of a green yard fading slowly down a hill to a small gathering of water resting a hundred yards from the ocean from which it came. From that point forward lies a wide beach full of sand: loose, deep, tan sand; then packed, wet sand that allows your feet to sink an inch or two; then wet, darker-colored sand that holds firmly; and finally sand that has been licked, lingered, and left by the waves. The waves break suddenly against the shallow shore creating a white marble affect in lines and swirls across the water. Above the water, cranes, pelicans, and sea birds of all types soar across the sky while a light breeze keeps me cool in this humid but rich place.
Yesterday we sat and watched the sun set from a rock outcropping surrounded by scattered pools of water. The pools resembled glass until a nervous crab or two jumped in to hide from our scary shadows. We sat on the sharp, black rocks watching the sun slowly submerge itself in the pool of the ocean until only dusk remained. Walking back to the house, we all took our empty glasses, once filled with Cacique Guaro and Coke, back to the beach in front of our rental. One of the guys built a beach bonfire and encircled it with driftwood benches while others worked at the house to try to make our own authentic version of gallo pinto (rice and beans). The fish cooked in foil packets buried in the coals of the fire, and we sat staring at the flames, mesmerized by their dance. When the food finished cooking, we brought everything out to the campfire: plates, cups, Cacique, gallo pinto, and fish. We sat on our driftwood benches eating fire-roasted fish and gallo pinto, listening to the waves crash against the shore and admiring the expanse of stars that hung overhead. I have never eaten a meal in such a setting.
When we all finished, everyone took the remnants of the meal to the house using headlamps to see in the moonless night. Then, I found my way back to the campfire, slipped out of my cover-up, and walked in complete darkness toward the sound of the waves. I walked forward into an expanse of darkness, not knowing when I would feel the ocean sweep between my toes. With the tide very low, and the beach very shallow, the walk was long to reach the water, and I looked back to the glowing fire to keep my bearings. I felt very small in such an expanse of power, nervous that I could see nothing around me. Then with a rush, I felt a plane of cool water wash over my feet. I walked out further, and the water reached my knees; further, and it reached my waste. I was in the ocean in complete darkness, feeling its power, feeling the rush, feeling so small and vulnerable. Then, I thanked God for His amazing creation, His power in the world, and His power in my life. I left the waves, smiling, and walked toward the fire, toward my temporary home.
Costa Rica has been mesmerizing. We rode horses through the jungle and on the beach. We ate sushi from an open-air cabana overlooking a pool on the edge of a mountainside that then overlooked the ocean. We protected newly-hatched sea turtles as they made their journey to the ocean. We meditated on the ocean waves in savasana for the yoga session I taught. We made s’mores at a massive bonfire on the beach. We danced in the ocean in darkness watching the bioluminescence glitter around our feet. We experienced all these things, and this was only the first week of my Costa Rican adventure. More to come…
Beach house where we stayed in Playa San Miguel: Sand Dollar Cove
Sushi and Mountain-side pool location: Cristal Azul
You must provide your own bonfire-makers. We had two fire fighters in our group to help make them especially awesome.