A small river runs from a local mountain spring down to the sea here at my front-yard beach, just a couple hundred meters from my cabin. There’s a natural pool at the terminus of the river, about 50 feet wide and maybe 4 feet deep in the center. It’s shaded by palms, balsa and other trees, and bordered by short papyrus and other reeds, and all hemmed in neatly by coconut-sized rocks. The water has a natural green hue, and it’s lively with tadpoles, fish, tiny brackish shrimp, snails, insects of all sorts, hundreds of little hermit crabs patrolling all over, and Jesus lizards – the ones that walk on water.
A couple volcanic rock risers accent the pool: one near the middle, deepest part, and one flanking a side of the pool’s opening, where it dribbles down the shore’s decline and meets the salt water and waves. Forming the other side of the opening, along with the reeds, is a pair of old, downed balsa trees. The dry, rooty stumps face each other while their trunks lay out opposed, one pointing back toward land, the other stretching out toward sea.
Dried leaves and coconut husks lay scattered around the vicinity, so when I walk toward the water’s edge, the thick leaves and husks crunch under foot. Standing on the boulder at the side of the pool, facing the sea, I hear the waves both in front of me and, oddly, behind me, coming from the jungle – the sound reverberating off the thick curtain of trees and vines.
It’s warm and humid, and the pool’s glassy water is inviting. I dive shallow and glide underwater a few feet, feel the chill of the fresh spring water slide over my skin. And as I press my face up through the surface and take a slow breath through mouth, then nose, I smell a sweet-yet-earthy fragrance. Like magnolias, stirred in with brine and a bit of manure. There are monkeys here, after all. And I hear their banter.
I also hear parakeets chattering, macaws screeching, and other little birds of various types chirping. A juvenile buzzard rests on a limb 50 feet overhead, and rrrawks every now and then. I hear the river flowing down the rocky shore, at mid-tide, down into tidepools, and then to the waves. I hear a fish slurp at the water’s surface, inhaling a fallen insect. Closer to the ground, I hear the crackle-bubbling of tiny soil pockets releasing air and water. I hear the hermit crabs skittering.
I slowly climb up the rise in the center of the pool and step a wide stride onto one of the logs. I notice that the curvature from the log’s trunk to its stump is the perfect angle for reclining. I splash water up on the log to wash away some sand I had imported there with my feet; then squat and shuffle my torso and butt into the curve, and stretch out my legs along the trunk. After shifting a bit and crossing my right leg over left, I lay my head back into a little nook in the stump. Through half-closed eyes, I appreciate the fact that I am both shaded by broad branches and I have an open-air view of a cloudless, midday sky. I am gradually hypnotized by the atmosphere, and I doze off.
Floating in and out of sleep, I realize that I have been here more than an hour, and within that time — on a weekend — not one other human being has been within sight. Neither on land nor on the sea out front.
I have had this river, this pool, this entire beach, the smells, the sounds…all to myself. And right now, this is exactly where I want to be. Exactly where I’ve wanted to be for a long time.
I reach back, cross my arms behind my head, and appreciate that I’m surrounded by all this pure, healing energy. I smile widely from deep in my heart, and as a grateful tear slips from my eye, I say out loud, “Thank you, so much, thank you…” …and I fade back into my nap.
By the way, if you’re interested in a vacation at this place, I recommend the rental cabinas on the property where I’m currently living: www.OlaMarCR.com