November trip to Costa Rica
At the end of the summer, I was inspired to commit to return to my “bucket list,” as I realize my life is but a short journey on this planet. Since at least college I have imagined what it might be like to spend time in a Rainforest. I thought I might join the peace corp, but life pulled me in other directions. Then I thought maybe when my kids were grown, I could venture to Central America, but then Camp Earth Connection called for my attention as did the grandkids that started arriving. As I am approaching my 60th year of life, I realized it was time, so I decided to sign up for a Permaculture Design
Certification course – in the middle of a Rainforest in Costa Rica. I had completed the course before in California in January of 2004. I loved everything about Permaculture – observing and working within the natural ecosystem, living with less and sharing more. But I got distracted with raising children and working in the human service field. With that said, I was also noticing, like most of us were, that our planet was in big trouble as we were. So it all kind of made sense – to head to Costa Rica, re-commit to learning about ways to care of the earth and people and hopefully spend the rest of my life trying to live in a more caring and conscientious way. I spent 2 weeks with an amazing group of people from around the world, most of them quite a bit younger then I. On one hand I was a bit disheartened to realize my time to do this work was limited, on the other hand, it did give me hope for our future, that these folks were all committed to learning and living a more sustainable life. There is lots of information about permaculture on the web and you can even get certified now on-line, so I won’t try to share all that I learned, but you can find out some of it if you visit the camp this summer.
After the course ended and most of my classmates left, I stayed on and moved into a house that felt like a palace to me. The house was completely open with only half walls and mosquito nets over the beds. There was a 2nd floor where you could sit on the deck and watch the toucans while viewing the mountain in the distance.
I spent the last week with a wonderful guide, Marcos who guided me up a mountain where we saw White-Faced monkeys and Piccaries, a huge toad (seriously as big as my hand wide open) and many birds native to Costa Rica. Marcos’ father took my on a horseback ride for a couple hours through the village and down a river bed, and then a most exciting adventure was when Marcos led my on a night walk. In the forest, this is quite a feat, as the poisonous snakes come out at night to hunt, but so do a lot of other night creatures that can rarely be seen during day hours, including a number of lizards, snake, and frogs. Fortunately I only ever ran into the cat-eyed snake that looks similar to other poisonous snakes in the area. At the time (2am in the morning) I didn’t know it wasn’t poisonous and it was in my room, so I ended up sleeping in the hammock outside. And then there are the leaf cutter ants that walk in a line that seems to go on for miles carrying pieces of leaves on top of them. They were out night and day working away.
I am ever so grateful to all my hosts and teachers in Costa Rica, and I am hopeful that I can share much of what I have learned and live a better way of life as a result of this experience. If you ever travel to Costa Rica, and you want to get off the beaten path you might want to consider contacting Tim and Robin at Rancho Mastatal as well as Marcos and Jenny at Finca Siempre Verde
With Peace and Gratitude,