The rain begins just as the conversation comes to a natural close. My friend and I have been talking on her porch as the end of day has turned from beautiful light to mystical darkness. Just a couple of hours ago, I was standing on the edge of the Earth with the waves of the Caribbean Sea kissing my feet as I watched the full moon rise. As bright as the sun, it shone proudly in the star-studded sky. Its reflection moved along the water like a dagger, dancing through the sea until its edge kissed the tips of my toes. The fact that I am able to witness this beauty fills me with such a deep sense of gratitude. Magic is real and is abundant in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.
Smiling, I enter my cottage, leaving the door open just a bit longer so that my new friend can also make her entrance. A beautiful, multicolored cat appeared at my door a couple of months ago and has continued to do so every time I return home from my day. We became fast friends since then and have had many nights of cuddling in my bed before falling asleep together.
She meows excitedly as I take the tin of food out of the refrigerator and load some into her bowl.
Now it’s my turn. My dinner is sitting comfortably on the stove where I left it before I walked over to my friend’s place…a pan filled with sauteed vegetables (which I bought fresh from the farmers market this morning), and a pot of fluffy brown rice.
I load the deliciousness onto a plate and take a big bite before adding the required condiments (salt and sriracha, of course).
After a few bites, I recognize the familiar flavor that is now abundantly apparent in my mouth. I look down at the stove and see swarms of tiny ants crawling all throughout my pan of veggies.
I am not sure which disturbs me more – the fact that these ants have ruined my meal or the fact that I have accidentally eaten ants so many times that I am now able to recognize the flavor of them.
I open my door and throw the contents of the pan into the night. Fortunately, the tiny creatures aren’t fans of brown rice as evidenced by the lack of movement within the pot. I load some of the grains into a bowl, place a few slices of avocado on top and add a healthy drizzle of tahini to the concoction.
As I consume my meal, I begin to ponder what I have ‘sacrificed’ in exchange for such a simple life. Having ants in my kitchen a few years ago would have meant that I had to DO something about it because it would have been a gross and therefore unacceptable situation. I would have sprayed down the place or had it fumigated (ironically, with chemicals that would pose a much greater threat to my body than ants ever could). Now, however, I consider such an infestation a minor annoyance as well as a learning experience (don’t leave cooked veggies out for very long, for example). The ants live here and so do I. If I really don’t like it, I probably shouldn’t be living in the jungle.
As for the rest, my electricity and internet go off for a few hours every so often, as does my water. If my computer breaks, I have to travel five hours to San Jose to get a new (shitty) one. For that matter, I am a plane ride away from an Apple store, so if my iPod goes kaput, I am out of music for awhile. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping when it is particularly hot, because I don’t have air conditioning…hardly anyone does down here. And, finally, yes, I am familiar with the flavor of ants.
But in return, I spend frighteningly less money than I ever have. And since I don’t have to make as much money as I used to, I have the time and inspirational surroundings to cultivate and practice a deep spiritual connection with myself and with the planet (which, perhaps is the reason I am able to be so serene with issues that I would have found deplorable back in the day). And when the electricity, internet or ants get to me, I can leave my cottage, take a short bike ride on a dirt road through a jungle of wildlife and end up on the edge of the Earth, watching the moon rise over the Caribbean Sea.