From Mount Katahdin to Bangor, Maine to Providence, Rhode Island to Richmond, Virginia to Cohutta, Georgia… and now one night in Atlanta before we depart for a small finca in Costa Rica. The next chapter: work-for-stay at a permaculture chicken farm in the rainforest, with fruit and veggies grown on the side. Our own little cabina, which comes, we are told, with an alarm clock of nearby howler monkeys.
J. and I will be there for thirty days, which is the longest we’ve been anywhere since leaving Montana in January. That miniature dose of permanence sounds pretty good right now. Though I love travel and new experiences, nomadism is not my nature. Everyone needs roots, but true nomads must carry theirs, as do the tribes who move communally. If only we still took our friends and families along with us when we moved! But my quiet, insistent yearning for a place with roots–a place to return to again and again–will have to wait, for the time being.
Meanwhile, we’ll be tending chickens. Repairing fences. Wading through muddy jungle in wellingtons that we will buy upon arrival. Being with each other, breathing different air, doing whatever it is you end up doing on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.
Gastronomically, we’re expecting lots of beans and rice. And I’m told that Ticos (Costa Ricans) even make gallo pinto, the Nicaraguan national dish. Gallo pinto means “spotted cock,” which sounds more British than anything, but it’s delicious. It’s, well, beans and rice, but extra good somehow. I also dream of tropical fruit, and hot tortillas made from corn ground the same morning. They are good plain… even without the beans and rice!
And perhaps there will be nourishment of the spirit. Perhaps some of the tuanis goodness and relaxation regarding time can wend its way into me. If I am attentive, maybe more kindness than usual can pass through me to other people. It may be surprising to hear that I’ve been feeling less and less spiritually connected, a gradual fade since we left Missoula, even on the trail. Plateaus are to be expected, but maybe with all this walking, moving, and traveling, experiences have flown past so quickly that all is reaction, with less reflection, less motionless time set aside for reception. Certainly more enlightenment seems to happen on riverbanks and in little rooms than on subways or treadmills.
Even so, even in constant motion, there have been glimpses. Walking around a north Georgia subdivision as dusk fell, watching fireflies glow and fade, I tried to catch one, remembering the unblinking doggedness of a child with cupped hands, reaching for a light that only glimmers for a moment every minute.
So perhaps a few weeks in a different land being a volunteer–one who offers herself for service to others–but with plenty of other hours to fill, will do good in numerous ways. Not to grow roots, but maybe to prepare the soil.