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DECEMBER 31, 2008
I had a dream last night about Maxine Hong Kingston. She was telling me to trust the way. The way is drawn. The way is safe. Trust the Buddha within. I had to walk the last final stretch. In the air across a thick tree branch draped with silk, I was struggling, frustrated. The silk wouldn't stay secure and I kept sliding. I was scared, too. She kept telling me to try. That it could be my time if I tried. But I couldn't do it and this wave of guilt and disappointment washed over me. I found myself walking through the garden weeping, waiting for the others to go; waiting for her advice and her guidance.

Sarah keeps making these lists of things she or people here want. This is about the fifth or so list. This one includes things like vanilla, maple syrup, raisins, guava jam, chunky peanut butter. Things that we had and were meant to ration. Things that people practically devoured as soon as they were opened. Four weeks worth of goods. We've…

Day 45

DECEMBER 29, 2008
I haven't written in a little bit. Nothing has been going on, and today mostly isn't any different. I have the day off. The past two nights have been doubles, so that very well could have been the culprit.

Someone fishing just 200m from here caught a juvenile bull shark. It's such a shame, because now it's laying on the beach dead. We have a fellow PRETOMAite that arrived here from the San José office. He went out and measured it and collected some data. He's originally from Spain. His name is Miguel. Maybe Spain is the place for me to learn Spanish.

Simona, the girl that showed me how to make woven wax cord bracelets has gone. She left spools of wax cord for us use. I've made three bracelets and now I am working on a necklace that I would like to weave a shell into. Gifts. [<--Previous Day] [Next Day-->]

Eerie predictions

DECEMBER 27, 2008
I think that the next thing I want to do is work with kids--high schoolers, preferably. I was talking with Sarah as we walked back from the bar about the kinds of activities she does with her kids. I do like the camp setting, but I don't want to necessarily dedicate 24/7 of my time to it. She camps with her students, teaching them ecology for a week at a time. Then she gets a few days off back in her own living quarters. I want to be at some recreational camp, teaching kids ecology, hiking, kayaking, climbing, horses, etc. But at the end of each day, I want to travel home. She also suggested working on Native American reservations out West. There are many, many reservation out West, including ones near Salt Lake. Though there are also many alcoholics.

I can't wait to do whatever is next. NGO campaigning in CA, marine conservation and ecotourism in Hawaii, recreational/wildlife education in the mountains. Bring it. [<--Previous Day] [Next Day-->…

¿Estás bien?

DECEMBER 26, 2008
Patrol this morning was 3-6am. It was Margarita and I tonight. There are only 2 things I dislike about patrol. One is soft, slopped sand that is hell to walk 3 hours in. Two, is people who walk really slow. We went north and north is 2k down, 2k back, times 2 (x2). At normal speed it takes 30 minutes per 2k. We extend the patrol to 45 minutes by taking the 15 minute break between each 2k so as to be sure to take advantage of the full 3 hour patrol. If we come across a female turtle, some breaks may become eliminated to keep time. So it took us 50 minutes to walk one 2k this time, and we came across one turtle at the end of the first 2k. Ok, fine. That was at 3:50am, but we didn't get back to camp until 4:45am. That was only a 4k pass and we still had 4k to go before 6am. So I was tired of walking painfully slow and I had the backpack and the nest on my back, so I decided to walk the normal speed the last 300m of the 1st 4k pass so that I could hurry…

Christmas and keeping it

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DECEMBER 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! Is it really Christmas? Last night the guys brought home 5 snappers from the fish market along with a few packets of corn tortillas, avocado, cheese, and cabbage. We made corn tortilla fish tacos, and they were outstanding. This was actually my first time eating a freshly caught/cooked fish. All of the ingredients from the tacos--tomatoes, red onion, cabbage, avocado, rice, black beans, fish, corn tortilla--just turned into a large heap onto my plate. I crammed way too much in those little tortillas. They are the same used for the tamales that we will have tomorrow night.

This morning Chris is supposed to make crepes for breakfast with the Nutella we had received from our visitors the other day.

[Make fudge]
[Sq. ft. garden for Chris]

I've started a new book. It is called Voluntary Simplicity: Toward A Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple

"As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, you should keep it. If you were to…

Christmas Eve

DECEMBER 24, 2008
Happy Christmas Eve!

I had MGMT in my head until Joel put on some Citizen Cope. This makes me extremely happy. He also made me pancakes sans milk, which is so kind. I decided to put pb&j on them since the syrup is almost gone. I think that Joel and Chris should have the last little bit. Aunt Jemima. Simple Joys.

There was a group that came here a few days ago to visit and they donated $150, plus all kinds of special foods. Really, really kind of them during this time of year. We had power bars, Nutella, granola bars, honey, coffee, peanut butter. A bunch of sugar to keep us a wreck. We are so addicted.

Alan's brother, Christian has packed up his things to hit the road soon and he has left his ipod out so that I can pick through his music. Finally, no more Jack Johnson and I can listen to some Ray LaMontagne, The Avett Brothers, The Decemberists, Spoon, and Johnny Cash. This is probably the only opportunity I will have.

I am almost finished with I…

Cacahuete

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DECEMBER 23, 2008
Maggie had her puppy! Yes, one lone baby boy. When I woke up this morning, someone had written on the board, "it's a boy!" Everyone is so excited. He is so fat and rolly; tan and fuzzy.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Register. Register. Make mental note. Stephanie is in San José right now and is supposed to arrive tomorrow. She's bringing tamales, but called and postponed our traditional tamale feast until Christmas Day.


[<--Previous Day] [Next Day-->]

yellow armadillo

DECEMBER 22, 2008
I just saw an armadillo! I was walking into the sink area and it wobbled in front of me and into the bush. It was rather large. About the size of a football and a half. Just beautiful 9-ringed armadillo.


I just witnessed the most awesome crescent moon I have ever seen. We were on patrol and there was this eerie glow. Once the clouds parted, there sat the largest, horizontally placed crescent moon in yellow that I have ever seen. It reminded me of the scene in Alice in Wonderland where the Cheshire Cat is on the branch, fading away until the last thing you see is his crescent smile. It was perfect. [<--Previous Day] [Next Day-->]

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit

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DECEMBER 21, 2008
I got a chance to venture into town today. By car, this time. I am walking into town tomorrow morning, but I figured now would be a good time to pick up a few food items so that I would not have to walk them back in my pack tomorrow. I've decided that I will feed myself for the rest of my time here. I got a loaf of bread, guava jam, some packets of crackers and a few snacks. I am hoping that it will last me a week, but I am aiming for longer.

I washed my water canteen today for the first time. There was mold growing inside of it. I hadn't really cared to be honest. I mean, I didn't know that there was mold in there while I was drinking from it until today, but my earlier contemplations were to not wash it the entire time I was here. Because germs/bacteria/fungus are nothing to be afraid of.

I am in a different place today. At a shrine or a temple. Maybe I biked there. I think that I would have wanted it that way. I am in Japan today, in a pea…

Silence

DECEMBER 20, 2008
I just finished reading The Kite Runner this afternoon. I think the last time I read a book that fast was when I was young. I remember reading a lot of castle, knight, and alien books (by Bruce Coville). There was a part towards the end that I really admired. It's a little dark:
"It would be erroneous to say Sohrab was quiet. Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the VOLUME knob on life.

Silence is pushing the OFF button. Shutting it down. All of it.

Sohab's silence wasn't the self-imposed silence of those with convictions, of protestors who seek to speak their cause by not speaking at all. It was the silence of one who has taken cover in a dark place, curled all the edges and tucked them under (361)"
I give the book top marks. I'll surely recommend it to Erica. Next, I'll probably finish Charm Offensive so that Chris can read it before I go. Then comes Into the Wild.

I need some marshmallows...

"That is ve…

Music and resolution

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DECEMBER 19, 2008
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."--NELSON MANDELA The thought of music has been on my mind. Iron & Wine is playing now. I think about purchasing this particular album so that I may return home listening to Iron & Wine in a new light, unlike before my arrival to CR. It's a strange feeling I have today. Now that I am here, it feels like things that are apart of me must die here; must be left for this preservation of this experience. Encapsulated in all of the nothingness that defines this. The things that I long for, that are missing, want vs. need. Maybe I need to remember how to relive. Music is powerful like that.

Music has been a crazy thing for me this year. I guess it's always been. This was an emotional year. I feel like I ran towards the same things over and over again, dismantling special pieces and artificial passions. Sadie G & "Radio" turned to Ray LaMontagne, t…

Wild grass

DECEMBER 18, 2008 "Believe that the sort of life you wish to live is, at this very moment, just waiting for you to summon it up."--SUZAN-LORI PARKSToday is a lazy day. So far nothing exciting has happened. I took a break from reading Charm Offensive, and am now reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Its about how Afghanistan changed after the ousting of King Zahir Shah in 1973 and the Russian invasion in, I think 1975. These two boys born in the 60s are the main characters--Sunni and the other Shi'a. The differences in classes; hatred. "Kite runner" refers to a kite competition each winter where handmade kites are flown on fiberglass string. They fight the kites in the air to cut the twine and whoever the last kite fighter is, wins. Meanwhile, the kids run after the cut kites as prizes, hence the term "kite runner." Once I finish, I want to start Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I've seen the movie, but I generally like to think that b…

Life in excess

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DECEMBER 17, 2008 "The world has its ways to quiet us down..." It's 12:54am and I am waiting for my 2am patrol. I got up at 11pm to check the hatchery, added some corrals on a few nests that are due soon, collected babies, walked them down 8 sectors to sector 12. I tried to get Maggie to go with me, but she disappeared somewhere. Alan made this fabulous coconut rice pudding, but there is milk in it. It's so delicious. I'll have to find a recipe at home to make it with soy. There was only a few spoonfuls left for me to try, so dinner was oatmeal and some crackers. It's probably best that way, but I've eaten far too much oatmeal between yesterday and today. Everything in "excess". It's about time I worked on that--like not eating everything in sight unnecessarily--which is probably due to the strange hours of awake and sleep. Like last night I went to bed at 7pm, now up from 11pm to probably 5am, where I then might try and catch a fe…

Day 31

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DECEMBER 16, 2008 "One of the greatest feelings in life is the conviction that you have lived the life you wanted to live--with the rough and smooth, the good and the bad--but yours, shaped by your own choices, and not someone else's."
--MICHAEL IGNATIEFF
Extreme low tide in Playa Coyote
We have lots of visitors today! Last night, Alan and Joel came across two French backpackers who were looking for a place to set up camp, so we've invited them to stay with us. They went on south patrol last night, and now here they are next to me having breakfast quietly and romantically, while speaking in French and cooing at each other. Does that sound like a stereotype? Oh, who cares. There is one other person staying with us as well. Alan's brother, Christian is here for two weeks to catch some surf and visit his old stomping grounds. Him and Alan were caretakers here at the beginning of the year. I assume that he traveled here from Connecticut, but he rented a car to…

discomfort & joy

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DECEMBER 15, 2008

I am having a very intense reaction now from dinner. It's either severe acid reflux or an allergic reaction as it feels my esophagus is closing up. I laid down after dinner, so I suppose it could be either. It's a tightness or stabbing, like something is stuck and it's actually painful in a strange sort of way. Not burning, like heartburn, but like something is actually stuck in my esophagus. I heard a wives tail when I was younger that bread is good at opening the esophagus. That seems counter-productive. Good thing there is no bread here. I took 3 rolaids, but it's really uncomfortable and kind of concerning. This is the third time that this has happened here. Dinner was rice, canned corn, mushrooms, garbanzo beans, fresh tomatoes, a little oil, and some onion. People keep telling me they are using small amounts of oil, but I do not know this by definition and am still having trouble with almost all of the meals.

Its the next morning, we…

My old Japanese lady

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DECEMBER 14, 2008

Today we all enjoyed the low tide once again and took upon our own activities in the surf. Joel and Alan carved a spear from a stick and attempted to spearfish creatures too small to eat. Margarita snorkeled in the calm water, picking up sea urchins and exploring small coves. I didn't have any gear, so I played with my old Japanese lady, Maggie and took photographs in sepia.

There was this planet in the west that was exceptionally bright tonight. The brightest thing in the sky since the moon had not yet risen.






I had lots of things on my mind tonight while walking along the sand. Moving back to the states and finding a new home together, traveling across the country with our stuff loaded tight. I thought about Makita (my cat) and how much I miss her. About needing new shoes before I get to Japan because the ones I brought have serious holes and I can't wear sandals back to wintery Osaka. About getting my flights changed and staying in Costa Rica longe…

Spring tide

DECEMBER 13, 2008
The very large, orange full moon arose from the mountains last night. Absolutely stunning. I'm sitting here staring at the same place in the day time. Natalia keeps seeing things like this and saying aloud, "Is this real?" Funny how the experiences we seek and succeed in make us less sensitive to certain things, or I guess it's that I suspect nothing less from nature and I know exactly how amazing it is in every instance.

I awoke this morning to the lowest tide yet (see: spring tide). Sandbars were beginning to show and the surf wasn't breaking close to the beach like it normally would. It seemed like the waves weren't even reaching the beach, slowing their momentum over the vast distance and lazily pooling around the rocks near the shore without disruption. This phenomenon is clearly from the new proximity of the moon. It gives me great joy to experience such occurrences as this. I had a new hatchling to release in the shallows a…

Charm Offensive

DECEMBER 12, 2008
Update on the "expired" turtle from yesterday. A few went down to check on her and she was gone. Thing is, "there were no tracks coming back down the beach," says Alan. The only thing left to speculate is that someone took her--asleep or dead--no telling, really.

I went for a walk last night after exhumations. I always feel super full after lunch and it sometimes helps to get my digestion going. I ran across Joel bringing turtles down for release. He had just gotten back from town with Alec to get an insect bite diagnosed that has swollen up pretty good and made his entire arm numb with pain. We came across another female laying her eggs in daylight right in front of Alec's old hut. It really was one of those real and gratifying moments where you saw one process reap its reward as we held that bucket of baby sea turtles in our hands to release, as she laid future hatchlings into the earth before us. Camera-less, unfortunately. The …

No relief

DECEMBER 11, 2008
Red Hot Chili Peppers is playing; it's kind of nice. We awoke this morning to find a note from second patrol left from last night. The note said "dead turtle at sector 12." They had found a dead turtle on the beach that had completed its nest, but wasn't moving. Alan said that they sometimes fall asleep, so a few of us were going to check on her on our way to Playa Coyote (the beach to the North of us, divided by large rocky barriers).

It is retched hot today. I just keep sweating non-stop, but the surf is too high and rough right now for swimming. I prefer to swim when the tide is low and shallow pools of water have collected for wading and searching for sea urchins. There is just no relief today; hardly any breeze like there normally is from the ocean. I am so uncomfortable--in sitting, in standing, in laying. So hot; so sweaty. The tarp that makes up Sarah and I's tent where we sleep is black and there is no circulation. We never …

Dignity, check

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DECEMBER 10, 2008
I awoke this morning a little after 6am hungry from a full night's rest from my evening off. I always enjoy being the only one up (or one of two) and perfectly making a cup or bowel of oatmeal, just the way I like it. The bench that overlooks the ocean is usually damp, but I sit there anyway or down on the sand while enjoying my breakfast. It is so peaceful this time in the morning. The waves pound the beach, the air is cool. There are no voices or sounds other than the earth.

I have to say that after my peaceful breakfast, I wasn't so pleased to find little baby turtles loose all over the hatchery--inside and out. For someone had failed to sign up for their shifts, and without names, I am sure you can imagine who. I know it's a constant complaint. I don't like writing about it, but there is definitely one particular person here who is ungodly lazy, and selfish for it.

Anyway, so I gathered all of the babies/escapees and pilled them into a…

Day 24

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DECEMBER 9, 2008

Today is a day off patrol for me and I am trying to do nothing and enjoy it, but I am having trouble not doing. I'm on hatchery from 10am-1pm. I've done the dishes, made templates for the N and S patrol books, the exhumation book, and the hatchlings book. I finished a blog that I want to post this week from Thanksgiving, which I will probably do on Thursday when I head into town. I'm going to try and stick to Thursday as being the day that I head into town. I wrote a second unsendable letter. Now making lunch is on the brain. I wish everyone would just make their own damn lunch today.
"That's no way to be. All tangled up like balls of string." I am sitting here overlooking the ocean. Joel is down on the beach doing an exhumation. Alan is painting at the table while singing Blues Traveler terribly off key. Margarita is lone and away, traveling back from San José with her renewed visa. Natalia is rocking quietly in the hammock; gazi…

Honorable mention

DECEMBER 8, 2008
"I need a phone call. I need a place ride. I need a rain coat."I was lying here trying to get some rest before my first patrol in two hours. I realized I have doubles tonight after I decided to trek 24k to and back from some random town in the scorching heat. Now I have a headache. My first here, so far.

I haven't been able to put my finger on exactly how I feel being here. I miss everyone more, of course, but I know that I have these responsibilities that I believe in. It is a lot of work, and I know that I would love it more if the people here enjoyed this time we have together. It's confusing to be around people that can't make a connection with each other. It makes it feel like work, even though I love laborious tasks. I love getting dirty. I love the sand and the sweat, but it's become mechanical and my only joys are the turtles, collecting shells, being outside. It's lots of time to myself that I feel I've had way to…

Dear Cousin,...

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DECEMBER 7, 2008

"May you live everyday of your life."

Written: November 22, 2008
An absence of the neon, rival cause
brings civil rest in pivotal moments
of importance and the choices we make
in facing them
simpletons in the sand of honest
truth and labor in the sake of
saving marine races of nobleness
preserving integrity of endangered
swimmers and winning the war on the
spatial takeover of the land of youth
as 20 to 30 somethings place
lives on hold for prehistoric dinosaurs
that helped define things as we know it
holding onto simple truths
that make us who we are, what
we will become, and what we feel
we're capable of when things
have begun to spin recklessly
out of control. For one soul is
always constantly torn, and one
soul is Earth. Into choosing
death or birth. And both end equally,
the great takeaway of everything
that's material, though only one will
allow you the choice to start again. [<--Previous Day] [Next Day-->]

Simply put...

DECEMBER 6, 2008
"Gonna find myself a gray guitar and sing!" This song has been in my head all morning. Counting Crows really reminds me of high school, but they especially remind me of my freshman year in college. It was my first time moving away--Newark, Ohio, two hours away. I could hardly drive it without heavy eyes. I told myself I'd only come home every other weekend, but it seems like I was driving back and forth much more frequently. I lived with five other, very different girls. My roommate, Kat was the one I would befriend the most, aside from Laurie Barker (isn't it funny how when we sometimes refer to people by their fullname?), who I lived with, again once I later transferred to main campus. So, Kat and I had a lot of issues later on down the road. I actually just realized at this instant that her and Josh's mom look a lot alike. But those first few months, or maybe it was sometime in October, she had two free tickets to see Counting Crows…

Day 20

DECEMBER 5, 2008
Before I know it, I am going to be on a train back home, wondering how everyone else is feeling, and coping. Coping? Yeah, maybe. Some of us will be going home for the first time in months; seeing our parents, our loved ones. Some of us have been running for a long time, and are going home to make things right. What will my thoughts be on that train--Gratitude? Fear? Staring out the window while large and small traditions go whizzing by. I know I'll have wholesome thoughts of the things that I missed. I hear my theme song, already, "Run in the Front." I hope it'll feel like the time for a new life. I hope I'll have gained confidence in my abilities. I want to move slow; take things slow. I am in no hurry to make wrong, or be impulsive. Not that it's not destined to happen along the way, but I don't feel like I've made any wrong just yet. I don't think you necessarily need time to make the right choices. I think we …

Fenced in

DECEMBER 4, 2008
"Remember yourself, from the days when you were younger and rougher and wilder, more scrawl than straight line."--Anna Quindlen They have fenced us in. "They" being Sylvester's goons. These goons are the same guys that are paid to come to camp at 7am every morning to make noise and harass us. As I mentioned yesterday, the bulldozer is their favorite toy. I'm not sure what right they have to come here and staple barbed wire around our camp. It's not like they put up chicken wire, or wooden beams. No, this was rusty, razor sharp barbed wire. I don't understand, but we are all on edge and becoming more and more concerned with their attacks on camp, and how far Sylvester is going to take sending his message and threats.

Sylvester is the guy that owns the property behind us--the corn fields. He technically only owns everything 50m behind the surf because the beach is protected under the Federal Wildlife Preserve. His property in…

Revolving sky

DECEMBER 3, 2008
"You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it."--JOHN UPDIKE I saw the Milky Way last night. There is something about taking a 10-15 minute break at 4am to sit on the beach and look at the stars. I usually get a chance to compare the night sky throughout the night/early morning. At 7pm, Orion's Belt is in the south and we seem much closer to the systems. By second patrol, in the early morning, Orion's Belt is in the north and appears much further away. Some nights everything is much more vivid and the sky appears to never stop, in depth and in length. Last night, the stars began to fade into the horizon and dark patches, probably clouds, blocked out all signs of space.

Lucas came back today. I was glad to see him, or rather hear him as he barked madly at the crazy bearded man that's been bulldozing our precious vegetation ar…

Hold on to yo' butts

2:08AM - DECEMBER 2, 2008
"Whatever you want to do, do it now. For life is time, and time is all there is."--GLORIA STEINEMNot real sure where the time went today. I was up around 6am. Had a little something to eat and took a walk down the North side to try and find some sea urchin exoskeletons. The only one I found was the broken one that I found days prior. I found some other shells for the necklace that I want to make when I return home. Hopefully I can find a craft shop for some twine, wire, beads, secure fittings. Feels like such a waste since I have all that stuff back in Lebanon, but if I want to make belated Christmas gifts, I don't really have any other choice then to purchase new equipment. What else did I do today? I marveled at the new shifts of beach from the night's before tide. Crazy how many times the landscape has changed since we have been here. It keeps moving once I've figured out the best sector for shells, and I find it interesting…