Saturday, May 26, 2007


It seems an age since I last posted: the rainy season has hit with a vengeance and days have been dark with rain, heavy with damp and sadly without electricity or internet access. The rain wipes out the satellite, often before it knocks over trees which wipe out the power. So I've been sheltering in the treehouse wondering if the mushrooms in the corners are edible. Seriously, I've been trying to find edible mushroom sites on the net without any luck for this region - I can however tell you what to pick in Queensland. So the rain is here. Ah, looks like Monteverde. The forest has awoken and proves to be a very mighty beast indeed. May is here with all his strength and her exuberance. I can't admit to enjoying so much rain, but I love the growth and can feel its energy in my body. Everywhere green pokes through things, sprout and sprout some more, buildings are pushed aside by pink, green, brown, white, purple tendrils reaching for space of their own, liebsraum.
There are respites: last Sunday Guy and I had a wonderful day riding down to the river, swimming, brewing coffee in a shower and riding further to the beach before tying up the horses at a restaurant to eat. Felt so good to be in the forest dashing along trails almost covered over by new growth, drips falling down shirts from fresh bright growth overhead. The river is full and the swimming is good, even if the water is a little muddy from so much run off.
Last week I harvested bananas and mangoes, the week before pineapple and oranges, this morning starfruit and guayaba - smoothies galore, delicious. We pick mangoes most mornings in kindergarten and eat them straight from the tree - now that is education. We found tadpoles in muddy puddles in the garden and are watching them develop - they grow fast, I don't remember them growing so fast when I was a kid. Wonder.
And why the title? The rain teaches me patience, watching the howlers sit soaking in the trees teaches me patience and my friends teach me patience, a lesson it seems I need to relearn daily.

after rain

We got caught between two storms late yesterday afternoon. Both came in off the ocean, one from the north, the other from the south. The northern one was huge, thick, black, the other lighter, greyer, more rounded in the shape of the clouds. The heavy one was full of sheet lightning, the lighter had forks which reached into the ocean. The darker one drenched us thoroughly, the rain striping the sky like tv interference, I don't think I've ever seen so many raindrops so clearly. I love storms, they always pass, a good thing for me to remember. Intense as it was it blew over in about 1/2 an hour and left time for an incredible just washed sunset in all the shades of yellow and grey that are beyond imagination. Suddenly the sky was filled with black insects who remained hovering between the drips from the trees for a few minutes before disappearing. But the wonder, the beauty of the evening came later on my walk home. The moon is about 3/4 full shedding a beautiful subdued glow all around. I leave my torch at home these days. I'm hesitant to write more as I know I can't do justice to the beauty. There were thousands of fireflies. I was walking through the woods, the moonlight filtering through the trees lighting the topside of leaves and branches. Below in the darkness there were lights everywhere, tinkling, flashing, darting, streaming, flickering - so incredibly magical. Thousands of little lights in the clear and stillness of the moonlight. The world was sparkling. I thought of fairies of course and laughed aloud. So beautiful, I wish I could have taken a picture. The treehouse loomed dark above the brilliance of the fireflies. I sat on the steps and tried to breathe in as much of the beauty as I could. The first of May approaches.

after silence

It’s a beautiful morning, clear sun after a night of rains: fresh, cool, calm. All I have to do today is clean, get some fruit and some sun. My coffee is strong, my bites don’t itch so much. Outside in the tree a troupe of monkeys relax. What’s all the great shakes about being human? Hoss and Golden have been playing all morning, wrestling, eating, dozing. The two toads in the bathroom were exploring holes searching out morsels. The monkeys eat, play, sleep, the males howl at any noise bigger than them, shake their balls and then settle down on a branch for a nap. All of them living completely in the moment, no consciousness about what comes next, what to do, how to do it, what will happen if its not done right, repercussions, causes, effects, issues, wishes. Isn’t that peace? And peace at what cost: no self awareness, no possibility of developing consciousness? And who among the humans does that? We are all of us living in potential – and even that is not living. The creatures aren’t fully self realized – and so what of that? They work as perfect, efficient beings, capable of living their lives. It seems that we are the only species who find it all so hard. There are anomalies: the bird who constantly attacks his reflection in the mirror, the dog who’s afraid of heights – don’t they sound like human characteristics? The ideas that humans are the peak of evolution, that the totality of the animal kingdom exists within us, that in eons we have passed through every type of sentient existence: what purpose do such ideas serve? Do they make us more sensible, responsible, aware? Is evolution a race, is nature continually trying to better herself – again aren’t these human characteristics? The native and pagan religions of the world do they believe humans to be the pinnacle? I don’t know. I look at the big male monkey who’s head of his troupe. He’s right outside my open window. He’s sitting in a fork of a branch, his tail wrapped behind him, a hand on either fork and he’s watching. High, high above the ground he’s looking down over the hill to the pacific, just watching. A quad passes on the road and he follows it with his eyes, barking a little in response to its noise. So he reacts, he responds to situations without understanding. Humans have the capability to consider before reacting, how many of us do that and how often? Is that it? Is this the task, the challenge: to reach above instinct, beyond reaction to conscious response while still being in the moment? To at once distance oneself, observe, while participating fully in life?

We just finished a silent retreat yet last night was I think when I finally settled into it. So many thoughts, layers of perceptions, distractions, annoyances and fears. Sense of self still coming from the outside with few moments of exception, very few. Not a judgment, an observation. No concept of self equals no judgment – is that what the animals have, reaction stimulated by outside situation, not inner response? Where is instinct? Does that have the same place as mind, except we are making the shift more and more from instinct to mind?

The monkeys are so close I can see their tongues when they yawn and hear them sneeze.


Last night as I was peeing in my bathroom a 5 inch scorpion chased a beetle across the bathroom floor. It wasn't afraid of my torch, even though I shone it on the big black bugger, prepared to throw it if push came to shove. Behind it on the stone sat one of those huge fake scorpions, I'm not sure if it's a spider or an insect but somehow they are archetypically scary to look at. I pulled the mattress onto the deck and slept below the branches, bats swooped in and out of the house hopefully picking up mosquitoes. Giant grasshoppers cast shadows on the curtain. The tiny flowerets of the tree fell lightly on the sheet. This morning when I gingerly had my shower two lizards were fucking in the same spot as the fake scorpion. They were beautifully wrapped facing downwards, clinging to the stone, so graceful, intimate, intricate, perfectly still but beautifully connected. They stayed entwined for the duration of my stay in the bathroom, later I saw the male dashing about along the top of the bathroom wall opening his red frill below his snout. I wonder if he had used it to attract his mate, surely. I've just been to the garden and Hoss chased a 2 foot iguana from the compost pile. Luckily I had the chance to watch it very closely before he saw it. Incredibly beautiful, graceful, regal. With an arch to his brow that 30s movie stars would kill for. His face was a perfect mosaic of greens, washed out blues and creams, his brown eyes had a ring of gold set in them, more a hexagon shape actually. His five fingers were long and wonderfully taloned. He was a dragon, majestic, perfect, stll. When Hoss saw him he opened his mouth and hissed. Below him in the compost pile under a sign which read 'compost only', a golden eyed toad peeped. i wonder what I'll see on my way home.


I’m lying on the deck watching the storms over the pacific. The air is cool, it stopped raining 30 minutes ago and the breeze shakes drops from the branches overhead. The storms are too far out for me to hear the thunder, but big enough to light up the sky so I didn’t need my torch on the way home. The moon isn’t up yet, and she’s waning, it’s nice and dark. My music is playing, I have chocolate within easy reach and my beautiful dog lying beside me. Life is good. In Monteverde I saw these storms almost nightly, they lit my way home along with the fireflies. I’ve missed the fireflies here, there’s nothing quite like that flitting sudden intense light appearing here there and everywhere on a dark road, suddenly up close, next 15 feet away. I wondered why I didn’t see them here, but they’ve appeared this week: they must need the humidity, which explains why they were a nightly event up the mountain. I wonder if I’ll see more insects now. Certainly the mosquitoes have woken up from whatever blessed sleep they had, and they’re hungry. Big, black painful they are, and fast. My legs probably speak volumes in Braille. I wonder how they feel about sucking blood for a living, they hurt, at least ticks while phenomenally ugly don’t hurt. I wonder if mozzers are cursed souls who must suck blood as penance and hate to do it, maybe that’s why they hurt so that their prey will notice and kill them, releasing them from their hell. It seems I have to personify everything today. Hmm, rain, I have to move inside, maybe a cup of tea is in order. I have the most delicious South African tea just now with a name I can’t seem to spell, you know the one, the red one. Excellent. This is the first time I’ve actually experienced rain in the treehouse, it has so far rained in the afternoon when I’m out. It’s not nearly so noisy as it is in a casita. Wonderful!

one of those days

It’s been one of those lovely days, perhaps even perfect? that come along once in a while and are so easy to forget when things aren’t quite so nice. This is the beginning of the rainy season, and it’s as close to spring as I’ve seen: the earth, so brown and dry just last week is carpeted with tiny plants full of vigour and determination. I walk gingerly, trying not to crush the hope of each seed: maybe one day I’ll be a tree. Not that anyone but the human species needs to compare and contrast itself with others. Plants are plants are plants in all their glory, their existence. My dear guanacaste tree has dropped thousands of seeds this season and perhaps hundreds are sprouting all around us, some even in the crux of branches, a half dozen jostle for space between the steps to the bathroom. Three days ago they were just stalks with that beautiful convex bright green seed shell hiding the end. This morning there’s no mistaking them: they have lost the mantle and are uncurling their second set of true leaves, competing for sunlight below their parent plant.

I love living in this tree. I’ve always lived close to nature, in the cob I was living in it, but it was earth, subsoil and while it held me like a mother and cocooned me like a den or a cave, it didn’t live and breath and grow and drink like this beautiful tree. I have such a love affair with this tree. I’m wondering all kinds of things – why does the seed fall so close to the tree, which will survive, should I transplant the ones too close to the roots, how long will the flowers last, where do monkeys give birth (there was a very pregnant mother outside the kindergarten this morning). These questions seem banal but my mind is teeming with as much new growth as the earth. There’s a small tree just beside me who is gradually putting out leaves, growing them from the tip down, they seem to be a tiny bit larger every time I look. This tree will block my ocean view when its leaves are fully grown, I’ve thought of chopping a branch back, but right now the new growth is so perfect I’m more likely to just enjoy the sound of the ocean instead. The tree is full of life: ants, caterpillars, gnats, spiders, butterflies, a dozen different birds, half a dozen types of lizards, howler monkeys, squirrels and bats. It’s a whole community, each living in its place. I lie on the deck and watch the hawks glide about the branches, down below I hear the snuffling of armadillos. I really need to begin a more detailed account of everything I see. What a lesson this tree is giving me, how lucky I am.

So, it was that kind of day. The kind where the coffee is just right at 6:30am sitting outside on the hammock chair looking at the ocean change colour as the sun hits it. Where the earth is pleased that rain fell in the night and is soft and brown and welcoming. Where just the person you want to see stops in at kindergarten just as we are finding the 12th mushroom in the lawn. Where the children are interested and responsive and happy and curious, where there’s spontaneous singing and openness and love and questions about the mother of mother earth. That kind of day. Every teacher’s dream day where it all flows smoothly and there’s an opening into each child. So delicious. A day where through the tropical downpour at lunch one feels a warm mist of rain as one eats really good curried garbanzos. Where one spots a flycatcher building her nest somewhere close by, filling it with the down from those huge furry seeds and bits of coconut matting. Where the rain stops just as it’s time to walk up the hill and the sun comes out and warm moist air rises around one’s ankles. Where the horses are playing in their paddock the white ones looking like unicorns and the bays like Pegasus so proudly they carry their heads, prancing and kicking and rearing with the wet rising in steam from their backs. Where the shower at the foot of the tree isn’t actually cold but refreshing. That kind of day.