Saturday, May 9, 2009

Costa Rica - Part 3 - Palo Verde River Cruise

The interconnectedness of nature. It is a term and a concept that I think we understand on an intellectual level, but how often do we really experience and feel it? The renewed ability to feel it was perhaps the most important benefit from our first trip to Costa Rica, one that, as I described in my last post, began with the architecture of the resort’s main building and the presence of the howler monkeys on the property. The subsequent tours we took reinforced it.

I’ve already discussed our visit to the cloud forest and the stewardship in force to protect its ecological balance. The magnificence of the natural world became even more apparent to us when we took a jungle river cruise in Palo Verde, one in which both the guide and the boat’s pilot served as spotters for the often carefully camouflaged wildlife abounding along the shore. Away from any human habitation, we got a real sense of life in the larger, natural world, encountering many crocodiles, capuchin monkeys, water birds, iguanas, fruit bats, etc. While it may sound trite and clich├ęd, we were able to perceive both the beauty and the terror that nature holds, with a balance that only the natural world can offer. Armed only with our eyes (and of course, our cameras!), we had the opportunity to experience things that were unmediated by interpretation, nuance, narration, etc. In other words, we were immediate participants in this world, not simply vicarious bystanders seeing it through someone else’s lens. In a world where electronics has all too often made us remote participants in the world, this was a real accomplishment, and it was to have long-lasting effects, as I will discuss later on.

I will write about our third tour, to a fair-trade organic coffee co-operative, which took place on the same day as the river cruise (it was a very long day!) in my next post. In many ways, it was the one I found most inspiring.

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