April 6, 2015
The Mornings and the Evenings
Each day of a Journey takes on its own character. I believe every day is like this but the embarking on a specific trip has a way of focusing my attention when I might not have been doing that at other times. Waiting for a certain time to come also brings with it an attention. All these criteria are in place for this one: I am stranded once again, a stranger in a strange land.
Let me explain, if you will. Here I am in Paso Canoas, Costa Rica. I am forced once again to sit and wait for money to become available to continue my run. This time, money is in the bank but nowhere is there an ATM machine that will read my flat imprinted card. I do not even know if that is the reason it says, ‘insufficient funds’ when I know my bank balance is ample to handle what I am asking the machine for. There is something, don’t you know, about the electronic matrix that has the power to shut down everything, at least for me and for right now.
Think about how this operates in your life.
It has been necessary to find somewhere to send a message by the same electronic internet both to my bank and to my partner to send me cash by mail. And once that has been accomplished on this Thursday afternoon at a DHL office here where people willingly assisted an old lady to get her business taken care of, they informed me that this is Holy Week; the next day is Good Friday. Their office as well as most other official offices (except the borders) will be closed for a week not opening for business until April 6th. Okay, seems like quite a duration to work out!
The next step is to find a decent place to park over whatever time this will take, preferably one that is safe, relatively out of the way, is watched by some responsible eyes and critically, has good water available. Everything else I have made accommodations for myself.
Well, dear friend, the old lady is not entirely without resources and she is quite mightily thankful to be not so ‘civilized’ that she is helpless in a strange country with a different language and culture, without many resources or gas.
All those years living in a van in the more or less trackless wilds of California and the western states of the Union gave me some savvy, some skill and a bird dog’s nose for the perfect place for me to literally live for the next period. It will be a frugal time and I will be holding in place most of the time, meaning lots of meditation, contemplation and plain hanging out.
By cruising around the small town here behind the mad congestion of the frontier with Panama, behind the fences, out and away from truck traffic and official boundary doings, I found a quite pleasant small, sorta quirky town, with its neighborhoods, its mercado, its mini super market, restaurants ‘tipica’ and a large motel with roofed parking for cars on one side of a wide dusty parking yard for a fleet of lime green busses and bob-tail big trucks along with the coming and going of an assortment of hotel guests in their cars.
I rolled into a slot under the roof in front of the south wall which makes all day shade next to a spigot of fresh water mostly used by what I discovered is a couple of chunky men who douse the bus windshields and sweep the interiors of the bus fleet, collect all that ubiquitous plastic basura and notice that there is an old lady in the big red van.
Looks quite beautiful, in fact, lined in tall trees, palms in pots, and lots of birds to flit about. So I get comfortable, douse myself with water from the tap until I am feeling cooler and settle to rest. Tropical days come and go quickly. It is less than a hour that the sky makes it coral and then red ending to darkness by a 6 pm reading on my small digital clock. Amazingly, I am ready for horizontal time.
The morning and the evening of the first day: it is Good Friday.
Needless to say, the reason for all this is that there is not enough money to be able to go across the border to Panama and I must stay here until it all gets worked out which looks like I must remain in the lot over this weekend and onward through next week until, at the earliest, Monday, April 6 to be able to either send or receive any messages or to go anywhere hoarding the little gas there is.
As I began to breathe and settle my mind to the here and now of it all, I come upon the idea of the week of ‘Creation’ spoken about in the Bible. It is Holy Week here in a catholic country where in the US it is the mayhem of Spring Break. Over a long, quiet day, I contemplate both my situation and the rest of what is going on about this Journey of the Lotus.
There is something about: I write therefore I am. If Descartes can do it, why not me?
Morning and evening of the Second Day: it is Easter Saturday.
So much of my time in the past seven years has been about difficulty walking. Here in this place, alone, without external resources, I am prompted to search within to discover a method to renew my ability to walk properly without pain. The idea takes hold of me as it is spring in the farther north where I have come from and it is the religious time for many people around the world.
Renewal. As that seems to have become the theme of this time, I work out a plan to restore the strength in my legs and hips.
I sit in the driver’s seat, open the doors to allow at least what breeze there is to cool me and begin.
I determined that walking with the stick has not been sufficient good stress on the bones and muscles to maintain their strength so, what I do about that, is to set my feet in front of me to raise and lower my heels quickly enough to pound them on the floor before me, left right, left right in a rhythmic fashion to make the bones and muscles feel the ground. I determine that at least one hour sessions should be my goal as I calculate the total hours in the approximately 8 years I have been debilitated to round them down to pound a total of about 20 hours over the next days as my rehabilitation.
I begin. As I go forward with this I will report my progress. After the first hour there is quite a delicious tingling in my legs and afterward I take myself to walk across the lot and back discovering a little more ease. Now, it’s time to add deep breathing and some acupressure to support the whole of it.
I believe that I have found something that I can sustain and that is working already.
There is a lot of time every day to simply watch the never-ending panorama of the place here and to contemplate. Later in the day, I spot an old man with a noose bag attached to a long pole reaching up into one of the trees opposite me to drop fruits into his pouch. After he made his harvest, I walked over there to see what I could see. I spot several small, pinkish and white pear-like fruits some of which are in good enough condition to pick up from the cement drainage trough where they have fallen.
After washing them thoroughly in the bucket of water, gingerly I bite into one of them quickly to discover an almost sweet, quite astringent fruit simply loaded with Vitamin C. Yum! I am shown something I could not have noticed any other way: a pure, utterly organic, unlabelled fresh fruit to eat, superior nutrition to add to the soaked seeds I brought with me. I will make it!
Morning and evening of the third day: Easter Sunday.
Seems there is some kind of outdoor hall across the lot and behind the motel here that hosts a service on this fine, very hot and humid day of celebration. Last night, there was a fine band rehearsing some of its tunes which this morning are the background for the services being held that turns out to be a whole day marathon from about 10 am until near dusk. This is serious stuff, it seems. There also seems to be a large gathering with a public address system making the preacher’s voice audible even out here. There is a lot of spirit that shows up for the day of worship. I soon discover that it will go on all week long, band and people and preacher.
Morning and evening of the fourth day.
I am at the foot pounding once again and have gotten into it quite nicely. Results have a way of motivating me and the deep breathing and acupressure add both relaxation and some better lung power. Legs and lungs are an equivalent and so it all synergizes for me to be able to make the walks across the parking lot up and back and forth and back.
Because I am not making it to town at all this week, the battery on the computer disappears after short time. I am transcribing the blog a week after the fact from the good old fashioned pen and paper traditions that have come the centuries before me.
The birds are talkative and they are having a merry time flitting around. I noticed there is a papaya tree growing at the edge of this bank of the parking area where the birds are perched munching on the fruits hanging very ripe on their stem. I go over there, climb the cement planter and reach up for one of them to add to my own diet. In a short while, this one will likely be just right to add its juicy lusciousness to the rest of my usual fare.
Morning and evening of the fifth day.
I realize this little saga of days and nights will be longer than what we know about from Biblical literature. Since nothing will be open all this week, I am here through at least next Monday to at least the 12th day and possibly onward from that time. Depending. This is Monday April 6th and I am looking at another full week here.
So, rather than get miserable, I get creative with myself allowing the blog to take its course and also work out extra time on my personal diary. It is quite interesting to be alone in a place without social stimulation to just be still and quiet, just be snoozy when that is what is happening. I can work my rehabilitation plan and then sit and watch for as long as spirit shows me and then I stop once again and wait some more. It might be dreary but it is actually nurturing something in me that just needed to sit and stare.
Raven shows herself even yet. It did not know how far south she would be found but it seems that Costa Rica and Panama are on her circuit. The habits of these birds takes them into the humid air where they mob sometimes upward to 20 birds whirling and soaring, wheeling and flapping at the edges of their spiral dance. The sheer exuberance of wild critters always lifts my heart and I am smiling, nay, I am grinning a very wide, toothy grin!
Are you guys having a good time up there? Seems they are doing their raven thing and it is quite wonderful.
The mornings and the evenings flow into one another. Day times are early and quite cool but by 8:30 in the morning it is very hot and my northern body sweats profusely. I am watching as body acclimatizes herself to this phenomena and drink close to 3 liters of water through the day and night.
Of course there is the matter of food, drink and some sort of laundry to keep my person together as I sit and wait for the rest of the world to do what it will do to bring the money I need to me. It is interesting to be in a position that this is all on other people to effect while I am literally stranded.
I am thankful that these people around about here are mostly unconcerned that there is a strange van in the parking lot. The bus men come and go at different hours. The local people drive their cars, their bicycles ad their motor bikes in and out of the lot. There is a stream of people here at the motel as there are a lot of people whose jobs simply stop for this week and everyone takes a holiday.
There are many people milling about all day at the pool opposite both kids and grownups. The place is busy.
It is a quite typical cement and tile double storied place in the front with stone work ‘buenvenudos’ worked across the front wall. Each small place in the row is coral tiled in front with one door and a large window. The whole place is growing with different tropical palms and other bushes, trees and grasses. The people who work come and go often with bundles of sheets and other linens over their shoulders. A gardener with a gas weed eater came one day to sheer off the grass in front and along the parking area.
And everyone enjoys the pool. It is fantastic to watch the little kids with their dolphin toys and to notice the adults who splash and dive just like their small rivals. The girls mostly wear shorts and tank tops and the men have those baggy pants often with t-shirts on as well. I do not see revealing bikinis anywhere. There are many, very ample people; the men especially with bellys. The cult of belly fat does not exist here; most everyone is what we might term a little overweight and no one cares and no one notices.
Morning and evening of now the twelfth day. It is Tuesday, April 7th.
It will be at least the rest of the week to wait here. Some of that is still about the matter of money. I am awaiting the packet to arrive by mail to the local type of Fedex place send by my trusty and loyal partner, Annika.
We simply cannot do without our friends.
And there is also another quite serendipitous meeting that it will serve me to wait for. On Thursday last, I went up to the town just to check out that nothing was open and decided to use some of the very little cash that I had to buy a Chinese meal at the local quite untypical restaurant. After sitting down for just a short minute, in strides a tall kind of scraggly hippy type guy somewhere in his 40’s; something about this young man prompts me to invite him to share my table. Danny Thomas introduces himself and I find to my evident surprise that he is English speaking and readily obliges me to sit down. He orders a beer and I order my lunch.
There is for the next half an hour while he waits for his bus some very animated conversation that tunes us both again into the truth that there are no coincidences, no accidents and that everything has a purpose some of which is a jolly good time. We share quite a lot of understanding about our world. He is enthralled that one other person whom he has just met has any inkling about any of it at all and quite soon speaks about putting ourselves together as a team. In my present situation, I can go with that. He also informs me that the usual ferry that takes vehicles by container to Colombia on the east coast has quit until at least November.
I am very thankful for that idea of teamwork and a partnership because the whole possibility of Panama City is quite probably a lot bigger than I am at the moment especially with my virtually non-existent Spanish language skills and a limited budget. His bilingual skills will make us a very good team. I have plenty of great ideas to help people feel better, have their places look better and to bring prosperity through cooperation and participation to the neighborhoods.
So, he goes off to San Jose, CR to visit with his mother for a time while I sit here to sort out my situation. After there is email, I collect his message and determine that he could actually ride with me to Panama City when I am ready to go. This may be likely in about a week from now: say, about April 13th.
Time shows us its will.