Thursday, August 1, 2013

The End Of the Story...For Now

It’s funny how a pair of really sad looking, ripped, scuffed and torn to the point where only a few shreds of rubber hold together enough to make the boot shape is really a beautiful thing. The boots are not disgraceful or ugly, though they may be useless for they are no longer water-proof or army ant-proof. They are a sign to everyone that someone has lived, someone has worn theses boots enough for them to fall apart. Someone has worked their butt off. (Literally.) I believe I have done all of this in Monteverde. They made their last journey to La Colina yesterday, and were gently placed to their rest in the dumpster.

I have been square dancing which is infinitely more fun when everyone is there by choice and not because it is forced upon you in gym class. Bennie Guindon would call out and teach us all of the dances and everyone took turns joining in. Whether you were playing the male’s or female’s part, turning the wrong way, or trodding on your partner’s feet everyone was laughing. David, one of the Guindon’s college-age grandsons, and I made a valiant attempt at doing the polka...and we failed miserably. That’s ok. Half the fun is laughing at yourself. 
I attended another Quaker meeting which was followed by a potluck to celebrate their moving into their new meeting house. (Just gorgeous by the way.)
This was their last meeting in the current meeting house, soon to be remodeled into more classrooms for the Friends school, so this meeting a great deal more people in attendance. There was not a single seat left. Before silence was to be observed for meeting, everyone sang hymns together. With no organ and no chorus and just one person who really knows all the tunes to lead the way, the sound of the Quaker’s singing can be off key but it holds its own charm and organic-ness. Kaitlin and I joined in. Then came the hour of silence. But it was punctuated by people rising to say a few words: some memories and gratitude to the old meeting house for sheltering them, others pleads for the congregation to pray for someone in need. I wrote a bit during this hour. Here’s what I wrote:

An Observation of a Quaker Meeting:

The Quakers have it right. Their sense of community is without equal. They sit in comforting silence until one, moved to speak, stand and asks the congregation to hold their child, in need of brain surgery, in the light. Silence again falls in the meeting house. Breathe is inhaled, breathe is exhaled. The air is heavy with the thoughts and prayers of the people who have dedicated their life to peace on this Earth, to fairness, and to acceptance. Though I am not religious, and I do not share their faith in a God above, all is welcome to sit with them. Some clasp their hands and bow their heads in quiet grace. Others, taking the hand of the person next to them and folding it in their own, raise their chins, their eyes above staring at some distant being. A smile touches the corner of their lips ad if the far spirit is an old friend. One day they may be called to join the spirit and I imagine her turning to meet it with grace knowing that their time on this Earth is at an end and knowing too that it was time well spent, a life well lived, a heart dearly loved by those around her and returns it with equal affection. “The spirit of love and sharing” is alive. It fills the room making it full. It touches and is touched by everyone donates a piece of themselves to this until the air seems thick and the windows seem about to burst. How this house holds its entirety I do not know. Perhaps it is the magic of the Quakers, their legacy left behind on the Earth for the next generation: How does one love their neighbor? The answer is fully and with your whole being. Though the time spent (bi)weekly in quiet tranquility in this house is coming to a close, I am reminded that this light is not dependent upon these walls. It comes from within and can always be called upon and more importantly shared. Though these walls are imbued with laughter, prayer and memories, and forever will be, it is alright that this chapter is coming to its final sentences. It’s ok for a story to come to its end for when it does, it only leaves room for another to begin. 

There were many celebrations for the moving into the new meeting house: skits, songs, a brief history of the current meeting house.
Taken by Kaitlin Baudier
Though my personal favorite was the potluck! The people here, besides being great cooks, are incredibly inviting and open. To finish off one of our last nights in Monteverde, the Guidins once again invited us into their home for family night. After a stuffing meal at the potluck, I would like to say that I ate a very light dinner but no...the bottomless pit that is my stomach was all like “FOOD! FEED ME NOW!” There was a chocolate cake again, this time with mint chocolate icing and ice cream from the dairy! I probably ate way too much that day. Ms. Mary and I talked a great deal on our last day in Monteverde. Kaitlin and Tessa decided they wanted to go see the Cloud Forest Reserve; I was of the frame of mind that I had already been in the cloud forests and did not feel the allure to go into the reserve that they did so I hung around the house. Ms. Mary, hearing from most likely Kaitlin, that I love to cook made the comment that maybe I should think about going into the food industry than medicine. I remarked back that I love food. I love to grow it, cook it, and LOVE to eat it but I don’t think I could make a living out of it while keeping my enthusiasm for it. She said I should be careful otherwise I will end up growing in the wrong way, the horizontal way. I said that that is what the triathlons are for. 
The next morning my boots made their final journey to La Colina. We caught a bus to our hotel in Playa Hermosa for two days of well earned vacation. Working every day, including weekends, for six weeks, yes we deserve this. Here I have gotten over my seafood dislike which is awesome! A whole new area of cuisine has been opened to me! It’s quite liberating actually. Last night we went out to a little local place right on the beach and watched the sun set. I’ve seen sunsets over the great lakes, over tree lines and bluffs but a sunset over the pacific really is the most stunning.

Today we leave Playa Hermosa and go to Liberia where we will fly out of tomorrow. My time spent here in Costa Rica has rejuvenated me. I once listened to a motivational speaker who compared us to fish bowls. When we are born, we are completely clear, nothing to block the view at the bottom of the bowl and as we grow, pebbles are added and clutter the bowl and we lose sight of the bottom of that bowl: who we are. Costa Rica has definitely removed some of my pebbles. I can’t believe my time here was considered “work.” I return to the States with a new outlook on my life. I feel positive. It’s a new month, the past is behind me and my future is whatever I make it to be. I hope I keep this new philosophy, the pebbles out of my bowl, and wear through many more pairs of boots. 
Taken by Kaitlin Baudier

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