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costa rica village

visiting a spiritual and ecological commune
in the costa rican rainforest

the local greeting is pura vida –
pure life

pitched my tent inside the jungle
on bank of tiny river

at night must use flashlight
to get back to my tent
walking through the jungle
down and across the river
and up again

the trees are full with parrots
the sounds of howling monkeys
make it feel as if the jungle
is full with lions

getting adjusted to
the sounds and rhythm of nature

sitting at the satellite internet cafe
writing emails to loved ones
surrounded by trees
on top of a mountain
overlooking the jungle
and the pacific ocean
as it gets ready to swallow the sun

hard to believe that the village
is less than three years old
an ecological and spiritual village
in the middle of the jungle
and it keeps growing
in total harmony with nature

good emphasis on healthy food
and it’s very tasty too

beautiful beach
full with vultures
clear water
small rocky islands
sticking out half mile from the shore

lots of music and singing
mainly in portuguese
some in sanskrit
some in hebrew

love walking on new paths
by foot or on the commune’s horses
seeing new views
from the mountain tops
and along the river deep in the jungle below
every day discovering more beauty

an hour and a half drive on dirt roads
leads to the village
from the nearest town of santa cruz
driving through open fields
along the ocean
inside jungles
having to cross several shallow rivers
by slowly driving through them

the nearest store is half hour drive
in nosara
where once a week on friday mornings
the local bar
transforms into a bank
serving all the tiny villages
in the area

climbing up for my daily sunset meditation
such variety of sunsets
rainy sunset
cloudy sunset
sunset with fog covering the jungle
that’s underneath
between me and the ocean
the whole jungle beams with reddish color

the whole commune went into
10 days of silence
150 people living
without talking

the silence ended with a gathering
the first words that came out of our mouths
were a portuguese song we sang together
tears rolling out of our eyes
found it difficult to speak again
to break the blessed silence
singing was a gentle way
to transition back into the world
of yaky-di-yak

during the silence
led several meditations including no dimension
a powerful sufi whirling meditation
was so much fun
explaining to people
without using words
the various stages of the meditation

during one morning gathering
the commune’s spiritual master
was asked a question about relationships
part of his reply was a sentence
that kept rolling inside my silent head
“relationship is not a compromise
between two personalities
it is a meeting between two beings”

now that the silence is over
the commune celebrates with a festival
every day different special dinner
italian night
greek dinner
japanese dinner
spanish dinner
swiss and israeli brunches
each meal is event by itself
with the decoration, music, and clothing
from that country

the day silence was over
on top of the lord of the rings mountain
we had an outdoor movie
big screen with dvd machine
and surround sound
everybody watching shrek together
with huge bowls of fresh pop corn
and herbal ice tea

even watching a movie such as shrek
takes a different dimension
under the starry sky
surrounded with loving people

trance party into the sunset
everyone dances facing the ocean
the spiritual master
becomes the trance dj

an armadillo coming out of the bushes
standing right next to me
cute being in armor

the commune’s seven dogs
running free
having their own agenda
mixing beautifully with all the
kids and babies

lying in a hammock
huge iguanas climbing the gigantic
lemon trees above me
parrots and other birds
feasting on the beefy orange lemons
sprinkling on me from the fresh juice

the insects receive much respect
whether it’s a giant butterfly
hairy tarantula spider
long praying mantis pretending to be
a tree branch
or a mother scorpion carrying
many babies on her back
friendly frogs hop around
rest and continue swallowing insects

after the silence retreat was over
moved my tent out of the jungle
pitched it on a mountain instead
enjoying open view
of the mountains across
with all their palm trees

realized that
living inside the jungle
near a little river
without seeing the sky
was appropriate during the silence

now it’s festival time
time for being more outward
for living in open space

feeling excited and in love
with the nature here
and the vibes
so many festival events are scheduled
no way i could participate in all of them

the little prince was performed
in the outdoor theater
seats were carved into the slope of the mountain
creativity and talent flowed out of
the actors, stage design, costumes, and lighting
under the most appropriate roof for this play
a sky full with stars

sannyas celebration
everyone in white
live music
18 people being initiated with new names
including a mother and her
two month old baby
the master gives some of them
energy darshan
with his finger into the center
of their foreheads
he decides on the new name on the spot
each name so appropriate
even though he doesn’t really
know most of these people
or does he?

every day unfolds new magic
gentle magic

windstorm arrived
everything was flying around
winds here can get very intense
making roofs of casitas fly away
during the night felt as if my tent
was going to take off
and take me to oz

the whole commune went to the beach
to clean it up

an american man who bought
a house on the beach
thought the beach was his private property
even though costa rican law prohibits
anyone from owning a beach

the american man was upset
that other people were coming to the beach
he cut down many of the trees
to prevent people from enjoying the shade
he also came out with a gun
to scare people away

now the commune people came
together with many local people
from the village san juanillo
to clean up all the branches
made big fires to burn all the dead trees
had drumming circle and singing
making a cleaning event into a celebration
dancing with the locals
with kids and dogs

angel walk at night
two long lines of people all in white
everyone in turn
walks with eyes shut in the middle
very slowly with small steps
being touched
by everyone

been giving health lectures at the commune
feels great introducing spiritual people
to other healthy aspects of life
and nutrition
people here are thirsty for
knowledge on health

been also giving private health counseling sessions
my workspace is an open platform
with carpet and pillows
and a small low table
on the slope of a mountain
under a big tree
sitting there with my clients
finding it hard to believe that
the green mountains across from us
the blue sky
the fresh air
and a tree full with howling monkeys
function as my office

one early morning at 4:45 am
we drove with the commune’s
small old american yellow school bus
to the ostional village beach
it was time for the sea turtles to lay eggs

hundreds of huge turtles making their way
out of the ocean
crawling up the sandy beach
digging holes and laying eggs
each turtle lays tens of eggs
covers the hole
and crawls back into the ocean

sunrise slowly reveals
a beach full with turtle traffic
some making their way out of the water
others crawling back to the ocean
this goes on for hours

gangs of black vultures
flying and jumping around
trickily managing to sneak their beaks
into some holes while the turtles lay the eggs
feasting on the fresh eggs
the heavy helpless turtles can hardly move

the entire village of ostional
is at the beach too
they walk around and kick with their heels
into the sand
feeling where the turtles have laid the eggs
they re-dig the holes and fill sacks with eggs
and load them onto four trucks

the turtles come to lay eggs
three mornings in a row
the ostional people collect all the eggs
during the first two mornings
and don’t touch the eggs
from the third and last morning
allowing the magnificent and endangered turtle
not to become extinct

three weeks later
hundreds of tiny baby turtles
with delicate soft shells
crawl out of the eggs and sand
navigating their way to the ocean
being easy target
for the hungry vultures

the baby turtles that made it
to the water
struggle with the waves
that keep knocking them back to shore
many die during this struggle
others become food for bigger fish
small percentage makes it
to adulthood

dry season has began
becoming warmer and hotter
no rain for several months

unlike in the west where
foliage takes place when it gets cold
here trees shed their leaves
during the dry season

leaving costa rica back to new york
from the jeep that drives me away
seeing how the naked trees
become covered with
blooming bright colorful flowers

pura vida

© 2002. All Rights Reserved.
Zemach Zohar Wilson, Costa Rica, January 2002.

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