Blog number 11

Isn’t 11 one more than we’re required to do? Then why am I writing it? I never do more than the bare minimum. Guess I’m just in a quirky mood.

Tonight is one of those nights when I wish I was back in Panama, sweating under a mosquito net waiting for the morning to come so I could get up and ride in the back of a Toyota Hilux to Parque Nacional Omar Torrijos. I would get off and head down the seldom used trail on the Pacific side of the park. Approximately 2 minutes in I would walk through a clearing on the hillside where the grass had now grown over my head; then, after a few meters on a well graded trail covered by thick canopy, I would emerge into the second and last clearing on the trail. I would take a left turn and descend a slippery grade down to the giant stump with the thorns growing out of it, and I would follow the barely discernable tread past the green, spiky vine and into the first dry streambed. I would turn left and follow the streambed down the hillside, making a right after 30 meters and taking up the narrow trail once again. I would drop into and climb out of one streambed, and then another. Just when the sound of rushing water was beginning to tease my earlobes, I would arrive at the sharp left turn that took me down a series of sharp, steep switchbacks, passing a particularly striking orange fungus on the right side. After 25 minutes of hiking through mist and fog (30 if I was feeling particularly brisk) I would arrive at a stream Macedonio had shown me over two months ago, one that the locals called the “Nombre de Dios.” It’s a quiet place; sitting beside it’s gurgling current, I would lay down on a rock and stare off into one of its many miniature waterfalls and watch the sunlight dance upon the falling droplets. Time and space would slip by imperceptibly as wind and water drowned out the voices of anything that mattered– voices of the people at LaMICA, voices of the people back home, the voices of all the burdens I left behind in Missouri.

And then, after I had received my fill of nothingness, I would rise and march down my transect to collect the litter sample for the day. Within a matter of hours, I would be back in the world of human-manufactured voices and human-manufactured problems–but for a couple of minutes, I would have peace, solitude, and isolation.

Right now I would give just about anything to have 30 minutes there again–lay on a rock, watch the mist twirl through the branches, and ponder the Name of God. The guy who figures out how to bottle and sell that place is going to be rich.

  1. #1 by Maeve on May 3, 2010 - 1:04 am

    I’m calling your bluff, Paul. You’re more of an over-achiever than you admit to. And more poetic, for that matter…(insert rude comment to balance out my unexpected compliments)

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