One of the main commandments for writers, and there are many, is to blog on a regular basis. We can connect with each other, share information, make friends, and perhaps find people who want to read (and purchase) what we write. I’ve struggled to maintain consistency but am attempting to do better. While I’ve been away, I’ve learned a thing or two, enough to fill several blogs.
And isn’t that the secret? To keep our own wells full of images? I know that when my blogging well runs dry, I need to write some more…and I need to get out more.
Recently we spent ten days in Costa Rica, where Internet service was shaky at best. We hiked in the Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves, learning how exciting and rare it is to spy a Quetzal in the trees, discovering howler monkeys and porcupines playing up high, and searching plants carefully for snakes before leaning in close to capture a photo of a tropical flower. I learned a lot on this trip, specifically how much time I piss away behind a computer when I should be outdoors enjoying nature. Through the book Walking with Wolf by Kay Chornook and Wolf Guindon, which I discovered while exploring Monteverde, I gained acquaintance with Costa Rica’s longtime conservation efforts. I learned enough to have many, many more questions about this stunning country, and I plan to return as soon as possible. Like every place we visit for the first time, it presents contrasts and contradictions, showing as many mysteries as it reveals about its people, its history, and its future.
Since my return, I have felt changed by the experience of Costa Rica where, without the “benefit” of all our electronic toys, we were forced to experience real life–such as having a traditional Costa Rican dinner in the home of a local woman, who shared her kitchen and family with us with abundant joy. With the language barrier, we could say little directly to each other, but she seemed fascinated with my “rosy cheeks” (though I don’t quite share her enthusiasm). I felt a strong connection with both her and her young daughter, and we left reluctantly, though full.
Costa Rica has changed me. Although I have always loved the outdoors, I find myself craving it now and have managed to spend a lot of time in the garden, on walks, and at the local arboretum. I’m also more inclined to stop to speak to someone while on my treks. Last week I met a man who described himself as a former hippie/Vietnam draft dodger/international lawyer. Though early in the day, his breath carried the scent of stale alcohol, and he bounced from one story to another, never quite finishing one before being distracted to the next. Although I had to extricate myself eventually (I think we would still be standing there days later if I didn’t), I was reminded of the joy of pure human connection. Well, and as a writer, the images and ideas that come from these moments!
Now home and back to the normal workday, I wonder how Costa Rica will affect my approach to this blog, my daily writing, and book marketing. Will it be a more sanguine attitude, perhaps a little less intensity? Probably not. 25 years of yoga hasn’t done it. Still, I remember one night when we were walking to dinner in a small town on the Pacific coast and got lost. We stopped to ask directions, and I understood enough Spanish to know that the woman I had approached had called for a cab and invited us to share it with her. We jumped in and were whisked quickly to our destination…and the cab driver refused any money from us. I will hold those images in my heart forever, and with them, hopefully, the intangibles, the feelings and experiences that defy description, that center deep within us and change our definition of ourselves and our world.
In other words, I don’t know yet how this trip will affect my writing or way of living. I just know that it will.