Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lessons to be learned from the beach

     People that live along a shoreline in a hot climate have a special rhythm to their daily beat. I recognized that when I spent a couple weeks along the Pacific Coast in Costa Rica.
     The tempo to a great extent is slower, and culturally “manyana” has its own delightful ring in your ears. Sometimes that’s not a bad idea anywhere in the world, except if you are waiting on the plumber.
     With the March mega blizzard and windstorm in our Livingston county area, I celebrated a chance to be away.

     Like a true beach girl, I sprung out of bed by 6 am, donned my bathing suit, cover-up and flip flops, rinsed off my face, put on my cap and headed out before anyone else in the complex noticed one missing resident. For me, it was reminiscent of growing up on Long Island Sound where I could go for days in such simple attire, sans make up and requiring only the basic of needs.
     Around Tamarindo, you see surfers and beach bums on spring break, or perhaps, living the life semi-permanently in this eco-friendly country. Yes, children of all ages will hop out of bed at the crack of dawn if they are motivated. I saw it with my own eyes watching their surfing lessons.
     The early morning people off to work or school make way for the vacationers ambling to the shore for walks before the sun gets too high in the sky and sun protection must be amply applied being so near the Equator. I passed several scooters driven by youth with surfboards attached going to ride the waves. They know the tide schedules and live and sleep accordingly.
     The sand is a perfect runway for joggers, strollers and shell collectors in assorted beach attire moving in and out of the surf to cool off.

    It reminds me of the two older joggers in my age bracket slow running along side of me. Obviously, the wife was faster, and the husband admirably was trying to maintain stride. “Hurry up,” she yelled back over her shoulder. “The doctor says it is good for your health.” She pounded on ahead looking neither to the left or right. I’m glad I am not in her racing club, or anything else she organizes. Life’s too short. I want to pause and look at the water, put my feet in and take in the smells of pure air without being tied to a stop watch.
     You wonder why the younger set stay plugged in to their music while jogging in such a remarkable environment. Are they capturing the cool breezes and the tropical ambiance, or is achieving their miles more important? Sure, most are in training for the spring racing sseason somewhere, and they can’t let up. North Americans are like that with frantic schedules and time sheets.

     The fishing boats and bird watchers have long left on their quests, and a few local employees are raking beachfronts or cleaning pools for later in the day’s appearance of serious sun worshippers.
    I passed an instructor giving a crash course on rowing to tourists renting a canoe, and I laughed as they repeatedly queried which way to pull the oars through the water. Oh, boy. On my return walk west I saw that the boat was out there with the rest of the fishing boats bobbing on the choppy waters. Hopefully, they were warned about the rip tide in the area, too.
     Picking up and putting back a piece of stone or a seashell – nature stays in CR where it belongs and is not for the taking – gives testimony that what is of the world stays here in its purest form. Costa Ricans appreciate their space in the world and are conscious of not ruining it for future generations.
     Ten years ago when I was last in Costa Rica, the two biggest fears of the citizens were the rapid settlement of the Pacific Coast by North Americans buying up property at cheap prices and the resulting pollution levels. Due to the slowing of their economy and the dip in the real estate market, I don’t believe those worries have come to fruition.
     A kindly man cautioned me as I came upon a black snake with yellow markings in the surf, and I moved on quickly. Learning to live in harmony with one’s surroundings is a recipe for contentment.

     The big deal here is the sunsets in the evening, and everything revolves around the grand finale. I make my last lap in the pool by 5 pm, shower and lounge on our deck or at a nearby restaurant affording a view and watch the giant golden ball slip away for another twelve hours.   It’s a free gift that you shouldn’t take for granted no matter where your location.
     Once the air cools down to the 70s, the streets become alive with folks out strolling.  If you are lucky, you might spot a couple howler monkeys up in a tree making their presence known. Seafood is fresh daily, and the offerings of seared ahi tuna, sea bass and tilapia are guaranteed menu options. Soft jazz music and blues tunes hum back and forth between one venue or another where flickering strings of miniature lights cast elongated dancing shadows on the sand.
     As dependable as clockwork, the day faithfully bids you adios. Never forget to give thanks and be grateful for life. The beach tells me so.