Better Than a Blizzard?
Five thirty-three a.m. here at Blue Spirit resort in Costa Rica. Mostly dark. I sit in shorts and t-shirt by the pool deserted pool. Most of the others sleep while the strong breezes push the big palms. Their naturally tattered leaves rattle and flutter with practiced ease. A faint lightening of orange creeps over the eastern hills.
Nearby, the howler monkeys practice their strange vocalization. These small arboreal creatures sound like the monster from the deep come to eat you up – but really are happy nibbling leaves as they effortlessly traverse the canopy overhead.
Everything, still in silhouette, moves with the breeze. The repetitive dark lines of the palm fronds stick up over the horizon line in the mid-distance. Nearby, the sound of water running constantly over the edge of the infinity pool.
We are all infinity pools – moving bodies of liquid – always spilling over. Not really stopping at the skin line, though that is the fiction we live by. Helpful enough to persist, false enough to cause lots of trouble. Each of us is always overflowing – always sending off messages to others of our kind: in our movements and our stillness—our expressions and lack of expressions—our voices and our smells.
Looking right, about forty feet off the ground in the small branches of a large tree without leaves, I see one of the smaller howler monkeys. A small dark and furry animal with a long prehensile tail. Prehensile (according to Mirriam-Webster): 1 : adapted for seizing or grasping especially by wrapping around 2 : gifted with mental grasp or moral or aesthetic perception. So with his tail he stabilizes himself as he goes from branch to branch. He is not in a hurry, and shows not the slightest fear of the height or precariousness of his position. Clearly height and tenuous grasp are not concepts he understands.
I love the second definition “gifted with mental grasp or moral or aesthetic perception.” With the tail of our mind we grasp thin straws to make a coherent and opinionated world which appears to reside completely outside us.
The eastern sky, now turning robin’s egg blue. A wispy pink cloud floats ambiguously above. The wind still blows hard in gusts, rattling the surprisingly tough leaves. The howler monkey ascends higher – now leans out over empty space, effortlessly finding the next branch. He seems to especially like what’s on the end of the smallest branches and is willing to lean out to get it.
Today, back home in Worcester, Massachusetts, a blizzard.
In this dream-life, I walk up to the pavilion to fill my high-tech travel cup with Costa Rican coffee and a little ‘letche’, before heading to the deserted beach for morning qi gong.