Without question, the biggest life lesson I’ve learned, through my experience in Costa Rica, is to chill and go with the flow. I come from a culture that values control on everything. Invest, save for the future, be conservative, work hard, think, consider all the alternatives and then make your plans. That is what we are told to do. I wonder how many people have conscientiously done that, worked on the plan for many years and then had fate throw a wrench into it. Control is an illusion.
Ultimately the only thing we can control is our thoughts. We are all made up of vibrational energy. Like attracts like. I’ve learned to focus on thinking good thoughts and then good things come to me. This amazingly beautiful adventure is a perfect example.
Peace and Love sounds like a good place to start. I walked into this nice little restaurant for coffee and told the owner, Andres, my idea. I wanted to take a paseo – an outing through the jungle and along the beach from the nearby town of Hone Creek and back home to Puerto Viejo. My plan was to take the bus to Hone creek, four miles away. Then I would find someone with a boat to take me the mile or so down the river where it opens into the sea. From there I’d walk along the beach back to Puerto Viejo. Andres thought this was a great idea. He sent me on my way with peace, love and some scrumptious fresh chocolate eclairs.
The river was too low and boats could not get through to the ocean.Well, that took the wind out of my sails. I was so excited about this idea. What was I to do? I sat down on the curb in front of the store and considered my alternatives.
I could hitchhike up to the waterfall in Bri Bri. No, I’d prefer to drive and make a day of it. Maybe I could catch a ride to Cahuita and walk along the beach back to Puerto Viejo. But Alex told me that was fifteen miles. Nevermind! Well, I suppose I’d wait for a bus and go back to Puerto Viejo defeated.
As I walked toward the bus stop, a pretty little calf crossed the road and caught my eye. “What a nice photo that would be.” I thought. “I’ll skip the bus and just walk.” That calf was so sweet. She let me pet her like a dog. She loved having her ears scratched. I walked along further and said hello to a guy walking by. He smiled, commented on the lovely day and asked me how I was doing. I decided to tell him my dilemma. And guess what he said?
“My brother has a boat. We can walk down the jungle path a ways and then get my brother to take us down the river to the ocean.”
“You’ll show me the path and take me to the boat?” I said.
“Sure. I was just on my way to work. Let me tell my boss and make sure it is OK.” Costa Ricans are so nice!
“Great,” I was jazzed! “I’ll pay you for your time.”
We walked through the jungle towards the beach, with the river along side of us, showing up now and then through the thick foliage. Bogo has lived here all his life. He has wonderful childhood memories of swimming and fishing in this river. The water was clear, blue-green and full of fish before the banana plantations came. Today the plantations are everywhere around here and their chemicals and erosion have taken it’s toll on the river. But still, it is beautiful.
The air became cool as we walked deeper into the jungle, shaded by the thick, dark forest. Musky, mossy fragrances wafted up from the moist ground. A feeling of enchantment came over me, as if I had been magically transported into a spellbinding, primordial world.
Moments later we were out of the dark, promenading through the park. The penetrating sun dried the ground and carried sweet floral scents through the air. We were dwarfed like lizards in a terrarium, by the giant bamboo. The river came into view again but Bogo’s brother and his boat was nowhere to be found. We would walk the rest of the way to the ocean. I didn’t mind at all. I was hiking through paradise!
Then there it was – our first peek at the ocean through the trees. We would wade across the shallow part of the river to get to the mouth, where is joined with the ocean. Then we’d walk back along the beach to Puerto Viejo.
In the natural world, joy and light heartedness abounds,
while drama and splendor are an everyday occurrence.
We talked and laughed as we walked along the shore. We passed a beachside lagoon and a girl buried in the sand (is that a girl? Look closely…). Bogo told me of his life growing up. He was born in Nicaragua but his family moved to Costa Rica in the 70’s as refugees from the Contra / Sandanista war.
His father was a chef on a cruise ship, so when Bogo was fifteen, he had the opportunity to travel across the Caribbean, all the way to Cuba and back. That was a grand event in his life.
Yet he has no further desire to travel. He enjoys his life in Costa Rica’s Caribbean. Bogo works as a carpenter. He is a man with little education who speaks no English and lives simply. Although our worlds are very far apart, we enjoyed a common understanding of what is important in life. When he asked why I left the United States, I told him I have a much better, happier, stress free life here. And we agreed that the greatest wealth is found in what money cannot buy.
We’re getting closer to home. This is the bridge at Black Beach, the one that washed out in the flood of November 2008. The river is low now (photo left), but during that devastating inundacion (flood) the sand you see in this picture was roaring, rushing water. Below the steel frame of the new bridge, where the bus is about to cross, you can see the old cement bridge, torn and twisted – the same bridge you see in the photo on the right. Nature never fails to manifest incomprehensible power. As I said before, control is an illusion.
And finally we are the end of our walk and the end of our day. Power…… Drama…… Splendor……. and of course in this natural world, you find Love. Lori and Randy were here in the Caribbean, celebrating their eighteenth wedding anniversary. Randy just couldn’t get over the fact that we have “free range” horses running loose on the beach. He loved it!
It’s the end of the day on Black Beach and I’ve had a blast! I rambled through an enchanting, secret, jungle world; met some unique people and got to speak Spanish all day; and with every breath, drew in a spiritual sustenance that satisfied my soul. As always, when you chill and go with the flow, things come out better than you could have ever planned.