I just returned from 10 blissful days in Costa Rica. I can’t quite escape the feeling that somehow I have gotten away with something – that having thumbed my nose at convention, I slammed the door shut on the all the holiday happenings, the excessive consumerism, the oppressive obligation, and the general seasonal stress.
If I sound like a bit of a Grinch, I confess that I probably am. I think part of it probably has to do with the fact that I’ve never been able to recapture that magical feeling that Christmas had when I was a kid. But this year, as I sat on an endless black sand beach, feeling the warm air surround me, and seeing the green vegetation teeming with life, I felt a different kind of magic. It was a bit like my own personal Whoville, and my heart felt like it grew three sizes in its lush, tropical landscape.
Over the past few years, I have been finding the northern winters increasingly hard to tolerate. I can feel myself wither and withdraw under the lack of sun and color. So, needless to say, starting the winter in Costa Rica was a great way begin the season.
We stayed in Cahuita, a fairly small town on the Caribbean coast. The eastern side of Costa Rica is the rainy side, which may be why more tourists usually flock to the Pacific coast on the western, drier side.
We rented a small, rustic cabin right across from the beach, and only a short walk to Parque Nacional Cahuita. The park itself has a very accessible 9km coastal trail, where you can stop along soft white sand beaches to swim in perfect turquoise water, or become entranced with the incredible amount of plants and animals that abound. I couldn’t believe all the wildlife we saw!
Now, I have returned to the sleepy winter woods of New England. A new year is here. I have mixed feelings about this. I guess it’s a time to think about what I want to take with me as I move forward into the winter, and into the year ahead.
It seems that with each passing year, I become more concerned about the future of our planet – over-population, unsustainable consumption of resources, habitat destruction, loss of wildlife, and of course, global warming. I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, but these are the concerns of our time, and yet, not enough people seem concerned.
Costa Rica is known for its “green” reputation, but even there, development, habitat loss, and hunting/poaching have threatened much of its verdant jungle. Some of its wild inhabitants are endangered, or even considered extinct in some regions. As amazing and relaxing as my trip was, I couldn’t help but feel a sadness at the loss this magical place has already endured.
With all that said, as we enter 2017, I look forward to savoring the life that surrounds us, wherever I may find myself. I will continue to strive to treat all living beings with honor and respect, knowing that they all have an important place in our ecosystem. I will continue to look for ways to help those living beings who have no voice, so that we may all move forward in this uncertain world, together.