Living in Panama, in our small town of Puerto Armuelles, we are only a short drive to Costa Rica. We are also only a few degrees removed from the equator, so the days are roughly the same length as the nights (12 hours light- 12 hours dark,plus or minus).
There is no Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall It’s always about the same temperature. You don’t need much of a wardrobe; In fact you hardly need anything at all.
Because life is reduced to its basic elements, one quickly falls into a routine here. You might think that it would get boring. Yet, somehow there are lots of little “extras” to keep things from becoming tedious.
For instance, yesterday my eleven year-old daughter woke up and was so excited. She came running to alert the family. We had to get up and see the sunrise. The morning sunrise was the most spectacular red that any of us had ever seen before.
This morning when I awoke, I was greeted by the neighing of a small “herd” of the neighborhood horses. They looked up from their grazing to give me a little “nicker”, as if to say “good morning”. Wow!, I thought, the new foal is really getting big.
As I write, the birds are beginning to warble and chirp in the trees, and the huge flock of parakeets that swarms around the neighborhood every morning like a squadron of miniature emerald green fighter planes on patrol, is just warming up its engines.
From the forest behind our neighbor’s house, I can hear the grunts and guffaws of a family of howler monkeys. They have broken their slumber and are getting on with the day’s tasks.
As with much of life in the tropics, the monkey’s “to do list” is quite easy to remember: Eat bananas, sleep; Eat papaya, sleep; Eat mangos, sleep….etc…etc…etc…
A Fright In The Midst Of The Usual
A few mornings ago, I had one of my most unusual, even frightening, adventures. It happened in the midst of a perfectly routine morning.
Most mornings, while the family is still asleep, I tip-toe downstairs, have my tea while listening to all the morning sounds. Then I drive the ten minutes to our favorite beach for a swim.
I find swimming slowly on my back, looking up at the morning sky to be the perfect meditation. Generally, there are gulls and pelicans dive bombing schools of sardines just offshore. Far, far above, practically touching the quilted tufts of clouds, can be seen isolated silhouettes of frigate birds, dense black construction paper cutouts, against a soft pastel sky of gentle white and blue.
I usually ignore the feeding birds nearer the sea, instead focusing my eye, and my mind, on the more “distant deeps and skies”.
On this particular morning, I was in my “zone” steadily stroking along the beachline, eyes fixed far overhead. The waves were quite small, so I was swimming close to shore, in water barely waist deep.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught site of a black shape on the water, not too near. “Pelican” registered my mind. But something in me had already registered that it was definitely not a pelican. It was too sleek. It was too sinister feeling.
…. To be continued….