22
Aug

Marveling at the Marvelous in Costa Rica

A small Brown and Yellow Tree Snake
Curls in a settle of contentment
At our house entry
A share of sanctuary

The baby Agouti snuzzles on our doormat
A softness for its resting
While sweet Bats hang on casa eaves
Shifting in wing-spreads
With sun’s light journeys
Entangled among jungle Zeniths

A leaf stem parts….
Its succumbing time
Its waltz with death
From impossible pinnacles
The fall transforms into flight
The waft and whirl
Akin to the gliding of a butterfly
Yes, for its arboreal lifetime, studied
But never imagined such liberation

And as the leaflet falls
In its last paragon of grace
The ever vigilant Fairy Folk
Of the Forest
Metamorphise it into a cocoon
We know, we know….
One such truss hangs upon our plastered wall

A tiny Frog shelters beneath shoes
Tipped to ward off scorpions
Or other such arachnids

We are the intruders here
But as we grow vines in our hair
And howl to the clamorous upheavals of
Storms of thunder and lightening
We marvel at the moon’s phosphorescence
Spotlit upon the walking trees
Not quite rooted, and thus
Awakening them to motion…….

The Goddess grows ever nearer

The Goddess Approaches

2
Jul

geckos

Two geckos
One a translucent clarity of brown
Herman I name him
The other teeny, black tailless
Both killing machines

The Salt Lake City Police gunned down another kid today
Probably African American
While Herman does not seem to mind that a black gecko
Has moved into his neighborhood

gecko

15
Jun

Isla of Cabuya 3

The Isla of Cabuya tucks
In alabastar slab and tomb
Beloved ancestors of their village.

Here come the tourists to visit
Something to do
On their vacations
To walk the pebble strewn path
Dry now, but
Soon to be erased by the sea
Certainly a novelty to be experienced
And perhaps even photographed.

Rufescent-headed vultures guard tombs
Laired in skeletal tree branches,
Withered and skinny necks extended
The island’s macabre wardens of morbidity

The entry warns ‘cemetario’

cemetario sign cropped
But perhaps the tourists think they visit
The gentility of Forest Lawn

Ah no for this is a cadaverous place
The island knows only death
And so the tourists retreat….
Confused by their experience

There was not even a beach
They concur sadly over lunch
And jump on their quads in search of a casino.

15
Jun

Should I take it personally?

Ripening plantains
For capuchin monkeys

One sticks its tongue out at me
Or perhaps at the world
Funny monkey…….

Business

sticking tongue out

11
May

A Cornucopia of Creatures and Their Doings

We have an armadillo in our jungle garden
A snuffling in the leaves

Armadillo in herbs
The presidential hopefuls embroil
In malicious debates
Of policy and principals
Faces asnarl in hatred

While we have an armadillo in our jungle garden
A snuffling in the leaves

In the today
Who was killed
Who was killed by those drones of America
In the dawning’s red blare
Of patriotism

Monkeys hang full tilt for mangoes
Reddened peak to sweet ripe
And argue about having sex

I heard coughing from the grand trees
A birth…
Throes of creation in the canopy
A monkey midwife patiently waited
To cradle the tiny creature
Emerged

A pause to regard the new creation
Before capers to cashew trees
Celebrations of new life

Machinery coughs blood
In its continuation of curses
Of mankind on mankind.

Meanwhile there is an armadillo asnuffling
In our garden
Trying to hide in the leaves…

22
Jul

Costa Rica Diaries: Segment 2

 

EVEN GARBAGE IS CHARMING IN COSTA RICA

shell for money

This is how we pay our ‘basura’ collector….with this shell.
We put 500 to 1,000 colones (about $1 to $2) in the shell and leave it on top of our bag.
If our neighbor gets there before we do, then he uses this shell and we use another one that is broken. This is obviously the preferred shell.

Many tourists who visit Costa Rica think that there is still too much garbage lying around, but the country has made a lot of progress from the first time I visited perhaps ten years ago when too many of the hillsides were cluttered with refuse.  However, I must admit, I am particularly irritated by the 2 liter plastic bottles left behind by the local fishermen and visiting tourist alike.  However, RECYCLING is here in a big way in Montezuma.

HIP TIP: Do the Earth and yourself a great favor.  Buy a stainless steel bottle for your water and refill it, rather than buying plastic bottles.  Not only can you flavor your water with limes, cucumbers and/or ginger, you can refrigerate it to keep your water very cold.  You can even freeze it.

For us, garbage has a whole new meaning here in Costa Rica. It has become a pleasure.

We have a box that looks like a wooden frame where we put all of our vegetable and fruit scraps…to share with whomever wants it in the wild kingdom, be it the gentle agoutis, that look like large guinea pigs;

agouti eating

the cute but ferocious coati mundis;

A Coati Mundi

the to die for darling capuchin monkeys;

white faced monkey baby

the iguanas,

blue-iguana-

ants and all manner of other guests. Egg shells are composted. Even bread scraps now go into the heap.

The compost box is just outside my kitchen window, so while I do the dishes, I can watch my visitors. Lately, the mama agouti has taken a liking to the wheat bread heels, as well as, of course, any banana scraps.  The coati and the monkeys love the papaya rinds since we leave quite a bit of fruit, though at a great sacrifice.  I solace myself with the knowledge that the next day’s papaya will be just as good.

What is left of our fish or chicken is thrown into our creek for the exotic tiger herons

heron tiger

and the raccoon.

Our bottles, cans, boxes, and plastic are recycled. We don’t have a car as yet (perhaps never), so we have to take the local bus to Montezuma, but it is just part of our weekly shopping day.

Then there is the garbage, garbage.  There is, after all of this separation, there is very little left. We bag it (in a green bag that will decompose, of course) and set it out by the gate for Tino, our collector, with the money for the week in our beautiful shell — so much better than an envelope or wallet, don’t you think?

shell for money

2
Feb

A Celebration of Hammocks

Such a humility of textile
Bits of woven fibers
Easily transported in a pack
Or if no sack, bound about the waist
What wizardry such simplicity wroughts…
For those adventurers of reverie
Who stray upon paths unknown
Lost in nature’s wildernesses…
Stranded from the world with its
Inns and feather pillows
Oh wanderer, despair not!
For in a trice comfort is assured
By the proximity of two amiable trees

A Bed slung and tied
An aerie so grand
Up off the ground,
Away from nocturnal pests of the jungle
No prey to boas, scorpions or tarantulas
But tucked as the butterfly
Nestled in safety within its cocoon
Until time to fly away….

A bed to vie with cloud drifts
Allowing the Earth’s
Sweetness of respiration
O’er the whole body,
A further enrapture to any gypsy roamer
Invitation to succumb to implicit Dream Lands

And if restless thoughts or worries
Or the roar of a howler money or jaguar awaken,
What a way to gaze in relaxation
At the night sky’s offerings
Of moon and starlight
So as to marvel at infinity
And the movement of constellations
About the yearning arms of grandiose trees
Such tapestries of light can only console
The heart into a most gentle sleep,
Knowing all is complete and perfect in the world.

The Dawn
Silently painting light into slashes of tints
Serening into a finale of azure
While the antics of white faced monkeys
Careening through impossibly high arboreals
Will set a smile upon any face
To last the entirety of the day.

20140205_130817

I present to you the mighty Hammock.

24
Jan

Our Day in Cobano

In the jungles of Costa Rica, I awaken early to brew forte coffee in an Italian pot, definitely an expatriate addition to our bungalow. Then off to Cobano, the largest nearby town, with Patricia and Simon, riding in the back seat of their old jeep. No suspension on their car — we are riding in the dust, each bump rearranging our skeletal alignment.  Never mind, for to the right, the turquoise sea in its guises of blueness snuggles against the lava rock, or at Las Manchas, Costa Rica’s answer to the Mediterranean, on white sand. All delectable.  To our left, the jungle corrals pastures of white Brahma cows, serenely chewing their cuds in contemplations of infinities.  Fragrances waft and bird calls decorate the atmosphere.

Cobano, and pavement at last, just in time to keep dire damage to a minimum to my body and probably the car. A little late for an appointment, Simon hurries from the car to copy some documents, secret transpirings for the attorney.  Cobano is a small town, and of course, a neighbor is there delaying his mission some.  Finally, he emerges, eyes twinkling with his adventure, handing our passports to us covertly.  We stash them in our pockets, and it is time to part ways.

Michael and I go to Super Maya, a grocery crammed with delectables and staples. Hola to everyone…the owner, the cashier, the stockers, the customers.  Gentility at this level is to be maintained at all times in this country.  Purchases loaded in the packs and a final ‘Ciao’ before crossing the street to the new Italian deli in town with delectable, and yes, expensive salami.  But with our Italian bread, pepperocini and tomato mix in olive oil, our requirement for picnics at the beach.  Bee, a new friend waves from the Italian cafe, and I mount the steps to give her a big hello.  I like Bee and her husband, fellow pioneers into this area.  Surprise!  Roumi is back from her two month odssey in India, still under its spiritual sway…They promise to call me when they pass my area on one of their marathon walks on the beach so that I can join them. Marathon is right — one time, they walked to Tambor! Purportedly in silliness and giggles most of the way.

Michael reminds me of the time. We have a good friend to meet, a bus to catch, and we depart with hugs and smiles.  The small town crisscrosses our paths with those of acquaintances and friends often. This phenomenon is so lovely, and very much appreciated by me, a transplanted Los Angeleno.  We cross the street once again to the butcher for fresh, white chicken. Hola! Hola!  We save the fruit stand for last because the bounty there will become our heaviest load.

On the main counter, a bird pecks, making short work of one of the bananas. He has no cash and he is not waiting in line to pay.  No one bothers him, or shoos him away.  I take his picture and turn to survery the colors and textures, an arrangement of hued freshness.  To keep the array vividly enticing, the vendors dust with cloths.  The produce is fresh, delivered in the dawn of that day.  The workers, all women, have been busy. Bags and bags have already been assembled, ready for restaurants and customers all over the area.  The fruit stand owner is one of my favorites, possessing a delightful smile, both mischievous and warm. She has a new multi-colored manicure to be admired…easy to do in any language.

I cannot find the arugula.  One of the women is on the task, finally emerging with a plastic bag, odiferous and fresh. Perfect for my avocado and arugula salads.  We add papaya and ginger for our mandatory fruit drinks, a big head of red leaf lettuce, small new potatoes, cucumber and eggs. We are graciously allowed to leave all of our heavy packs…gracias, and ciaos…What a life!  Sweetness is sprinkled lavishly everywhere here!

We are meeting Trudy at the French bakery cafe.  Greeted cheerfully by the Scottish owner, we settle into a table for cafe au laits and croissants. Joy from the farm for the yoga studio joins us, with a freshly pressed lemonade and yummy looking chocolate tart.  She is a veteran, and I vow to order that next time we come.  We munch happily, catching up from our last lunch together in Montezuma a few weeks back. The bus has arrived, Trudy dances down the street, anklet jewels sparkling, to meet us and after good strong hugs, settles in for a serious dining: cappuccino topped with chocolate, a chocolate tart topped with caramel and a vegetarian croquet monsieur.  Trudy’s cheerful wit punctuates each story to festive laughter.  Joy departs to her day; without much deliberation, it is agreed we do not wish to curtail our visit for the bus schedule and will instead split a taxi. We relax into one another’s company and speak of intentions. It is time to go — Trudy needs a pineapple  — back to the fruit stand to gather our packs and to hail a cab.

The taxi chosen is a small black car. He is a pirate and so will make a deal for the fare.  Over hill and dale to Trudy’s house on Canopy Road. She and I chat merrily in the back seat, Michael prompting a direction from her whenever a fork in the road occurs. Right at the cemetario, left, right, left at the cemetario and so it goes. A strange noise on the passenger side. The driver nods knowingly…the fender. Michael looks out and sure enough the bumper trails on the ground but we are arrived at  Trudy’s small blue house.  Money is exchanged.  Time to wire up the bumper.  I go to greet the two dogs Trudy is sitting..one a strong South African Ridgeback who jumps, paws encircling my neck in a hug.  Oops, catastrophe!  The rear tire on the driver’s side is flat. There is no spare.  Michael and I are walking home, or at least down the hill.

Off we go with our papayas, our vegetables and chicken slung on shoulders and necks. Down the steepness of verticality we walked every day in January for 30 days.  Up and down, huffing and puffing with three long stops to somewhat catch our breath before the next assault. The day we knew to be our last, we walked it a grand occasion to celebrate.  But now, fortunately, we are walking down the hill, a big difference. We pass Maraposario Gardens, gardens for butterflies, and decide to stop in to visit Josh.  Josh is newly married, and his happiness is most evident. After a nice chat about new breweries, Montezuma, Michael nudges us on.  The visit has now ensured we have missed the local bus, and so we take our time, a necessity going down this perpendicular mountain. A small pebble can easily induce a fall.

The Municipality has erected concrete poles painted to look like trees with newly strung electrical wires. Heavy metal spacers separate the wires to guard the monkeys from being electrocuted.  We marvel at not only the intention, but also the amount of work and material to accomplish this. What a marvelous country!  Currently, 94% of Costa Rican power is generated by renewables, primarily hydro.  Inexpensive. No Nuclear or coal. W

We manage to achieve the bottom without falling mishap. The cobalt nuances of the Pacific Ocean shimmers its dazzles to daze us…and it does. Senor Rafa, commander of the local bus, has arrived to find us. Astonished, we wave and he stops. “Hola, Senor Rafi” I shout at the entrance and then a few more Holas sprinkled here and there for our fellow passengers. There are two seats on the ocean side saved for us with a large backpack which is quickly removed.  Rafa drives next to the talking ocean, the door tied open…for more air.  He is telling a story. He stops the bus for a girl waiting on the wrong side of the street. He knows his passengers.  The bus roars in first and Rafa continues his story, handsome with a new mustache and goatee.  I ride so happy in such a strange conveyance, viewed with suspicion by most of the tourists. They need never worry, there are many hands and smiles to assist them here.

I feel indeed I am home.!!

 

9
Sep

Claudia’s Cabuya

Costa Rican Wild Woman 

claudia on horse

Mythology evoked
By Claudia astride a Black Horse
Both aglisten with their strengths
Sinew and tendon
A match of equality
And hence a melding

Her three dogs her companions
And sentinels always

Down the beach
A fury of gallop
Deep caverns of hoof print
In the coarse sand

Claudia lives in a house of talismans
And symbology
With artistry in construct
Of illuminations
From objects of the forest
And those found at the edge of the sea
To render a witch spell of nature
Within and With-on

This is a Wildness of Woman
Who paddles in search of Sea Turtles
Arising from depths

Night fires are stoked
For cooking

Friends have gathered
For laughter and singing.

24
Feb

Gratitude and Oozing

I am so blessed today…in this moment,
and fortunately,
I dwell in the sweet embrace of gratitude..
It coddles my being to an oozing….

So much better than fantasy and fear
Where I can reside for decades