Monday, June 7, 2010

A Note About Being...

Dear Friends,
    In the days since my return to the States I have been asked many times "what did you "do" in Costa Rica?" In order to have a response to that question, I have tried to fix in my mind what we actually "did" in Costa Rica.  We moved to Costa Rica to work a 40 acre farm, to spend some time as a family after my husband had a rude awakening to a serious brain issue, and to enjoy the lovely sights and high elevation freshness of the rainforest.We did all of that. We worked very hard every workday out on the farm. We spent lots of really quality time together as a family, and it was hard to miss the was everywhere. But that isn't really what we "did" there.

Yesterday, as my husband and I were chatting on this subject we enumerated our many adventures, talked about the highs and lows, but I really didn't come to an answer until a few minutes ago as I was sitting at the table eating my breakfast. As I contemplated our life here in the states and remembered what life was like on our mountain in Costa Rica, I realized it wasn't that what we were doing there was so different, but how we did it was very different....

Life on the mountaintop started before daybreak, much like our life here does. We were out on the farm early to have the heavy work done before the sun got very high in the sky. I would cut up fresh fruit for everyone to eat and then we would head out, care for the animals, water the seedlings, tend to other barn yard tasks, then Daniel and Erin would suit up and head out to cut the pastures or strip sod for new garden beds.  I would walk back up the lane to the house to start breakfast. Gallo Pinto (a Costa Rican dish of rice black beans and a special sauce), eggs, toast or home made bagels, fruit, tea and of course, good fresh ground Costa Rican coffee.

The guys would come in at 8:30 or 9:00 and we would eat and chat and linger over hot beverages, while looking out the north facing windows. The view out that way was verdant pastures dotted with cattle and beyond that the misty cloud covered rain forest. There was no hurry to get back outside, since it most certainly would pour rain for an hour or so at this time of day. So we would get the scriptures out and read and discuss what we read, then my son would play his guitar, my husband would work on his newest blog entry and  I would sit with a second cup of coffee and look out the window and marvel at the beauty beyond the glass. When the rain stopped everyone would boot up again and return to the farm. Thus life went, we worked and played, in an ebb and flow dictated by the rainforest. We sat in the evenings playing cards or backgammon by a 5 watt light bulb, or stood out in the darkest dark you can imagine and viewed the sweeping arm of the Milky Way in 3-D. Instead of falling into bed stressed out at the end of a work day as we did in the States, we would lay in the dark and listen to the Tilawa winds as they ruffle the window curtains (and the bed sheets if you didn't hold on to them...) and drift into peaceful slumber. We never set an alarm, there was no need, the rooster (wretched beast) and the parrots and toucans would make sure we were up. If it was raining while we were working, that was okay, we were sure to get wet sometime today... There was no reason to hurry, there was nowhere to go, and what we didn't finish today would still be there tomorrow.

 So much of our life Stateside was spent "doing" stuff... running errands, checking off things on our to do lists, working on our homestead, going from one thing to another hour after hour, day after day. At the end of each day we would all drop our exhausted bodies into bed to get a few hours of sleep before it all started over again. There was no time for lingering over coffee, no daytime hours available for guitar music or blog entries. Life was spend "doing".... It was during breakfast this morning when I decided to have a second cup of coffee that the answer came to me. As I enjoyed watching the blue birds fly in and out of their nest on the trellis outside the dining room window, it occurred to me that we weren't "doing" anything on our mountian in Costa Rica, we were in a constant state of "being". In Costa Rica this is called "Tranquilo".

So, with this revelation I am going to strive to "be" more and "do" less. I hope that I can hold on to the lessons learned in the rhythms of a simple life lived on top of a mountian in view of a very large volcano, and apply them to each day lived out in a small cottage homestead in the piedmont of North Carolina.
                                              Until next time, I'll see you in the mail!


  1. hey elle, nice blog!
    i would like to know if you wanna be pen pal with me. you can check out my works here:

    hope to hear from you.
    greetings from brazil!


  2. I would be glad to be a pen pal! My mailart address is: elle.mental
    POB 535
    Waxhaw, North Carolina, USA
    See you in the mail!