Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's not goodbye, only farewell

My last week in Costa Rica was mostly spent frantically sorting. I had some dense samples to work through, so I set down with a good audiobook and spent several hours sorting in the lab. I'd work in increments of 3-4 hours, breaking for food or brief hikes. Thankfully, I managed to go on another trek up the mountain into Monteverde with my professor and a couple of friends. The first time I hiked up with Ginny, I had to stop about 6 or 7 times to catch my breath. This time though, I had learned to pace myself and instead of stewing in personal hatred while moving one foot in front of the other, I climbed in a sort of meditation. This calm allowed me to enjoy the subtle wind and slight changes in light over the landscape as we climbed. I didn't need to stop this time--I could go on forever.

Climbing to Monteverde with Dr. Penner and Ginny
For our last group hike, we returned to the Monteverde Cloud Forest to hike the continental divide. On most of our higher elevation hikes, we've been lucky with clear skies. This time, however, the cloud forest was more mysterious as the clouds cloaked the forest. Little could be seen from the peak, but views weren't necessary. The powerful wind and rain showed us how high up we were as we finally felt the transfer of moisture from the  that we had been learning about. Going along the spine of the continental divide, you could feel

I'm home in Arkansas again, living with my mom and working at the library before I start my senior year of college and there is nothing more bizarre. I lived independently in Washington, D.C. all of last summer, but when I came home it wasn't too hard. I just slipped right back into my old pattern of work before school. And I've been able to do the same now, driving is as easy as chewing gum and all my friends are perfectly welcoming. Still, I've lost some freedom. In Costa Rica I could hike all day if I wanted to. I could always find some capuchins, blue morphos, agoutis, or hear a variety of birds. Arkansas is a constant 100 F though. Hiking or any outdoor activities that aren't swimming are out of the question during the day. I've found some freedom in trips to the lake and dusk jogs, something I've never been physically capable of. I can forget time there. I'll sit on the patio each morning and drink coffee, just as I had done at UGA, but I'm learning new bird calls here. I know a few: pilleated woodpecker, red-tailed hawk, and the ruby-throated hummingbird. There are plenty more to learn though and Costa Rica has taught me to listen.
Hello, Hot Springs

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