I’m watching a slowing sinking sun over a shimmering ocean. The warm sand is cooling rapidly beneath my fingertips. My aching feet are soaking in the soothing water. The warm wind is gently carrying the smell of salt; the grains of sand dance in its presence. I am agitated, bored, my mind busy and full of nonsense, of faces, places, feelings and plans. I feel stuck in the down time of daylight, before darkness and sleep.
I'm in the Corcovado National Park. I’m on my feet, searching, seeking the calm. I find the trail as it curves to the left behind the small buildings. I disappear into the forest and move quickly now. I know I must find it. The slope is steep and my pace slows. I passed it this morning, I know it. The forest is a noise of insects and birds as they say farewell to the heat of day, welcoming the night. The trees feel bigger in the half-light, the path narrower. Branches scrape my arms and the darkness feels close and sinister. Mud oozes between my toes on the darkened path, I leave dull thuds as I walk. I stop and close my eyes. I breathe the darkness and it presses against me. I almost turn to leave but no, I must find it.
There, there, I knew it! A wooden platform with a roof and seats, clinging to the edge of the cliff. It’s overgrown with ivy, shrubs and branches creeping through the wood. It smells of dampness and mud. The floor is rough. There is safety here. Stretched before me is the rainforest, split only by a strip of white sand before it reaches the ocean. The sun is lower now and the sky more brilliant. The clouds are red, orange, pink, mirrored in the sea.
One wonder of nature is interrupted by another. I spot monkeys, a blur of black and white. At first they are no more than a rustle of leaves. Two shapes – I think – but they are too fast to tell. Closer now and beautiful, faces, tails and perfect hands – human yet not. They pass me. I am ignored. I'm just background in this world. I’m insignificant in the vastness. I close my eyes. The orange glow warms my face and brings with it calm and finally silence in my head.
Eventually the sun is lost behind the edge of the earth and fireflies dance into life. I leave my haven and move into the darker forest. A lighter heart and a clearer mind bring peace. Not ominous now, but comforting. I feel safe. Between the leaves, the first star blinks in the sky. I stop. I close my eyes once more. I inhale the clean air. I make a wish and know I will return. My place of calm and beauty – found at last, in Costa Rica.