Costa Rica – My Sanctuary

6 Nov

The cry of the howler monkey wakes me at 5 am. It’s his warning call to potential intruders. To me, it’s “Welcome back to Costa Rica.” I have returned to our house in Playa Penca on the Pacific coast.

I step out on the balcony and am greeted by the only cool air of the day. The blue jays stare at me demanding to be fed. I carefully place tiny bits of bread evenly spaced along the rail for all to enjoy, but a few greedy jays swoop down, gather up three, four, five pieces, cock their head as if to say “so much for sharing,” and fly away.

I go down the stairs and walk to the estuary at the end of the property.  I feel the dew on the grass. In a few hours, it will be gone as the sun’s path crosses the house. Iguanas scurry up the trees to avoid me. I step on a half-eaten mango the raccoon harvested the night before.

I spend the day pondering the various shades of green of the mango, avocado and lime trees. The branches of the tree the monkeys nest in almost touches the balcony. Mothers with babies and juveniles occupy the lower branches. At times they are only a few yards from me.  I feel like I am part of their family.  The dominant male of the troop naps high in the tree. The slightest disturbance sets off his distinctive howl.

The sun is setting. The white herons are a contrast to the dark green of the mangrove trees at the edge of the estuary. In the distance, the fishing boats return to town. The Howler monkey gives his cry claiming this territory for the night. The day is gone. I haven’t accomplished a thing, but it doesn’t bother me. I am filled with the joy and serenity I always experience when I come here. As they say in Costa Rica, “Pura vida.”

Howler monkey

Article selected as one of the top twenty finalists in International Living’s “Best Job in the World” contest (November 4, 2015).

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