Costa Rica, Day 58 – The Journey Home

When you travel,
a new silence
goes with you,
and if you listen,
you will hear what your heart would
love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
make sure, before you go,
to take the time
to bless your going forth,
to free your heart of ballast
so that the compass of your soul
might direct you toward the territories of spirit
where you will discover
more of your hidden life,
and the urgencies that deserve to claim you

May you travel
in an awakened way,
gathered wisely
into your inner ground;
that you may not waste the invitations which
wait along the way
to transform you.
May you travel safely,
arrive refreshed,
and live your time away
to its fullest;
return home more enriched,
and free to balance the gift of days
which call you.

~John O’Donohue

It has taken me months to complete the Costa Rica journal.  Perhaps a part of me didn’t want to finish.  That somehow by completing the journal I would be admitting it was really over.  Like a good book, reluctant to read the last chapter, I didn’t want this story to end.

Saying our goodbyes

7am departure from the mountains of Coronado and the home of my dear friends, and my 17 hour journey begins.  We drop the kids at school, Sergio at the wheel, Lorena riding shotgun.  We part ways with Lorena in San Jose so she can take a two hour bus to the coast for a massage gig at the ocean.

Saying Goodbye

There are no tears, and no sadness.  We know we will meet again, “A being of ecstatic light, forever entwined.” ~ Hafiz

Sergio buys me a coffee and ensures I get on the right bus to the airport.  Security is a breeze and so the long wait inside the terminal begins.  I eat at Quizno’s, reluctantly.  It’s the first fast food that has passed these lips in two months.  I can already feel Costa Rica slipping away, one bite at a time.

I love flying, preferring the window seat so I can take in the landscape, the cloud formations, the fleeting beauty of this ephemeral world.

Hello Miami Costa Rica Clouds

Arriving back in the states was uneventful and customs, though confusing, was quick and relatively painless.  They keep delaying my flight out of Miami.  Another long wait begins.  Now that I am on US soil again, I just want to get home.

The stroke of midnight announces my long-awaited arrival into O’hare.  I’m tired, and sore and travel weary.  Rachel said I looked just so over it.  Seeing her in baggage claim was like seeing a unicorn.  You don’t believe they really do exist, these magical, mythical beings.  But they do.  And this magical being was here to help me with my luggage on the last leg of this journey.

My girl

I woke up on Wednesday feeling surprisingly good, considering we burned the midnight oil, eager to catch up, nestled comfortably in her cute little Chicago apartment.  My energy was light, and I felt like anything was possible. I also felt hungry.  Quizno’s in Costa Rica was ages ago, so we hit the road looking for brunch.

I already knew what I wanted.  Pancakes.

Pancakes!

And not just one pancake.  I wanted two.  Of my very own.  All for me, thank you very much.

Back at Rachel’s, I took the shower of a lifetime.  Hot water.  Water pressure.  Heaven.  These simple luxuries that we all take for granted, until we are denied their existence.

I do some of my best thinking in the shower.  And as this one was particularly, deliciously long, I had time for quite a bit of musing.  It was finally starting to sink in that I was home.  Whatever transformations had taken place were becoming perceptible.  I felt expanded.  Stretched.  Different.   I wondered if I seemed different.

Coming home to the cabin just felt right.  Despite my unknown future, and indecision about where my life was leading, this was home.  It was exactly where I was meant to be.

I walked in the woods, toes wet from dew, and felt no fear.  No spider, ant, snake or critter could possibly compare to what the jungles of Costa Rica had to offer.

Home

The final words from the journal I diligently kept to document this journey are ones that continue to sustain me, “Stay open, Jodi.  Stay on course.  Love and light.  I believe in you!”.

For a New Beginning

Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and to the courage to follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

~John O’Donohue

From: To Bless the Space Between Us

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Costa Rica – Sky Above, Earth Below, Fire Within

Peace is every step
The shining red sun is my heart
Each flower smiles with me.
How green, how fresh all that grows.
How cool the wind blows.
Peace is every step.
It turns the endless path to joy
~Thich Nhat Hanh

sunrise flower

The alarm forces me out of bed.  I am so tired.  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not a morning person.  I will sleep in when able, and greet the day in my own time.  But I made a promise to myself and I intend on keeping it.  As a photographer, I have always been keenly aware of the magic hours; the time just before sunset and just after sunrise when the lighting is often just that…magical.

It will be worth it.

Lorena and I walk to the beach from Edgar’s home.  He is just a few short blocks away.  The dogs join us, as they always do, without a collar, a leash or a care in the world.  Life just seems so very easy going here and I am struck again by the stark contrast between our two cultures.  By comparison, we “Americans” can be so very uptight.

As a skydiver, I have an intimate connection with clouds.  They offer a constantly changing landscape as we climb to 10,000 feet all weekend long in the flatlands of Illinois.  And I will often go out of my way to jump through them.

Sunrise Jaco

Lorena and I walk along the beach.  There are very few people out.  It is already getting hot and the sun has only just begun its march across the sky.  I lead her through a yoga practice on the beach and we do acro.  After an hour we are dripping sweat and decide to call it and head home.

sunrise

While we were away, Edgar prepared all of fresh fruit that we bought at the farmer’s market.  I am hungry and hot and at the moment this juicy ripeness seems like the most amazing thing I have ever eaten.  I wash it down with coconut water.

We shower and walk to buy bus tickets back to San Jose, stopping for breakfast and a chance to cool off.  It’s an incredibly hot day and I am melting.  I make it a point to stop at the surf school to say goodbye.  I spot my instructor in the water with a client and get his attention.  All I can do is wave goodbye.  I contemplate renting a surf board but the waves are not that great, I’m hot, and I’m just not ‘feeling it’, and decide to save my money.

Jaco Sunrise

On our way home, we skirt the ocean waves.  I look for cool rocks and collect sea glass.  There are not really any shells on this beach.  I’ve asked.  I was supposed to bring shells home for my father who collects them.  The shore here offers more rock than shells.

Edgar will drive us to the bus stop, but first lunch.  My last trip to the Taco Bar.  I love this place and will miss their durado tacos and iced frappuccinos.  Everything is starting to feel like ‘the last time’.  As my stay in this country comes to an end after 2 months, I’m becoming nostalgic.  This same nostalgia is what calls me to photography.  Moments are fleeting, but I can keep them with me if I can capture them just right.  Then, the moment can feel just as real days, months or years later.  It becomes a tangible thing.

Taco Bar

It’s a 2 hour bus ride from Jaco to San Jose.  There is no bathroom on the bus.  No air conditioning.  No wireless internet.  Gulp.

The sun is setting just as we arrive in San Jose.  We have to pay to use the bathroom.  They hand us toilet paper at the kiosk.  It’s rush hour here.  Everyone is getting off of work and the streets are crowded and chaotic.  Lorena navigates it like a pro.  I am feeling lost and have no idea where we are.  I take it all in, this everything dance of sights and sounds and life.  Sometimes it hits me, “I’m in Costa Rica!”.  This is one of those moments.

We finally make it to the bus that will take us to Coronado.  The bus is completely full but we get a seat in back.  I point out the mountains bathed in sunset to Lorena.  She said she no longer sees them.  She’s so used to mountains that they have lost their magic.  It was like this when I lived in Chicago.  I tried to see the beauty of the city.  I would observe tourists standing in awe of the Sears Tower (yes, I know…), or just the majesty of the urban landscape, and sometimes I just couldn’t see it anymore.  Often times it was all I could do to just get to and from work without beating someone over the head with my yoga mat.  I love the city for all it has to offer, but the chaos, constant noise and stress is not a home for my heart.  Give me trees, mountains, flowers, and meadows.  That’s where my heart sings.

One more bus change in Coronado to take us up the mountain.  This is becoming an all day adventure.  I over packed and have been lugging the heavy guitar case that I bought from Edgar.  It’s making me wonder how my journey home will be with all of my luggage tomorrow.  I shower, pack and join the family for our last dinner together.  Afterwards we drink wine by the fire.

I’m sad to leave this amazing family.  In such a short period of time, they have become so familiar to me.  I feel like I am leaving my own family.  But it’s time to go.  As heavy as it makes my heart, I am also ready to reconnect with my life and my people back home.

There have been so many shifts and changes while I was away.  And I have changed.  I know it will take some time to reintegrate into life but I am ready.  I’ve danced on foreign soil, laughed with new-found friends, wept tears of joy and sadness and longing.  I’ve left behind pieces of myself that will remain to swim in the ocean and dance in the ether, and I am taking parts of this great country with me when I leave.  It will all be ok.  Everything will be ok.

Leave the familiar for awhile.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out
Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadow and shores and hills.
Open up to the roof.
Make a new watermark on your excitement
And love.
Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.
Change rooms in your mind for a day.
And hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.
Greet yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
Chatting
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
You.

~Hafiz

Costa Rica – 2 Days Remaining

The river that flows in you also flows in me
~Kabir

Breakfast, coffee, and packing.  Lorena and I are going to Jaco to stay with her brother Edgar for the night.  He lives within walking distance to the beach.  One last opportunity to surf before heading home to the landlocked Midwest.

Along the way, we stop at the farmer’s market.

_MG_3136

Lorena skillfully navigates the market, choosing fresh fruits that we will be eating for the next 2 days.

Lorena at the market

I am most intrigued by the coconut man who is clearly a master of his craft.  Lorena has asked for 8 coconuts, to go.  We will drink from them later at Edgar’s, enjoying the cool refreshing and electrolyte-rich water.  She said it is his favorite.  I am touched by the love this family openly shows for one another.

I watch as he takes a huge machete and cleaves off just enough of the hard, outer shell of the coconut, leaving just enough of the white meat intact to contain the coconut water.  Then I watch as a thirsty family approaches this man, asking for coconuts to drink on the spot.  He cuts deeper, exposing just enough of an opening to fit a straw.

As I look closer, I realize his skill is hard won; he is missing the tips of each of his fingers on his left hand.  Some scars are more visible than others.

Coconut Man

We make the long journey to Jaco, stopping along the way at the fruit stand by the Tarcoles River where the crocodiles live.  I also wanted a chance to say goodbye to my friend Juan who works here.

Tarcoles River Crocodiles

After being in the cool mountain air, I had forgotten just how HOT it is in Jaco.  We quickly change into our suits at Edgar’s and head to the ocean, surfboards and coconut water in hand.

Edgar and Lorena

With only 2 surfboards, Lorena lets me go first.  This is my first time surfing this particular area, and it is different.  The waves speak a different language here that I am not familiar with.  To add to my challenge, I am borrowing Edgar’s teeny tiny surfboard.

Edgar at the beach

I paddle out as hard and as far as I can, attempting to keep up with Edgar.  The waves seem taller and are a constant challenge.  I keep falling off my board.  I am getting frustrated.  Edgar continues to encourage me to follow him out.  He makes it look so easy, diving effortlessly into the waves as they crash overhead.

This is too much for me.  I am not ready for these waves, and this board is too small.  I start to head back to shore and decide to surf the whitewater.  In no time, I am smacked in the nose with the board and leave the ocean, defeated.  This is not how I wanted to end my surfing adventure in Costa Rica.

Lorena takes the board, and heads out.  She’s having just as much trouble as I am.  We decide to call it quits.  It’s almost sunset and we have a photo-shoot planned.  With the ocean as my backdrop, I am finally going to work on my Art of Intention project.

Art of Intention

Art of Intention

Art of Intentkion

These are just a few of the images I wanted to share.  More to come!

That night we shower and grab a few drinks at a local bar.  It’s Sunday night and so Jaco, a bustling beach-town, is quiet.  We return to Edgar’s for a late dinner.  I’m starving.  Lorena whips up a delicious beet soup.  She said I would shit red for days.

We stay up late talking, sharing stories.  Finally, it’s time for bed.  I want to experience a sunrise on the ocean and do yoga on the beach.  As my time here draws to a close, it feels even more precious.  Not that I have wasted one moment, but I am even more keenly aware of my limited time and I want to make the most of it.

Months later, as I edit the photos and read through my journal, I realize how much I miss my friends in Costa Rica.  It was a transitional time for me for many reasons.  I came home feeling transformed and expanded.  The experience almost seems like a dream, and so returning to this journal, keeping a record, recalling all of the stories makes it more concrete, more real.

There is dew
on these poems in the morning,
and at night a cool breeze may rise from them.

In the winter they are blankets,
in the summer a place to swim.

I like talking to you like this.
Have you moved a step closer?

Soon we may be kissing.
~Kabir

I go to meet the dragon…

If the sky could dream, it would dream of dragons.  ~ Ilona Andrews

After 4 hours of sleep I am gently roused by Ernesto, my dance partner from the night before and Lorena’s brother who looks like I feel.  Despite our lack of sleep, we are going to see the volcano.  I love that nothing seems to deter this family.  Their drive, passion, energy and zest for life is contagious.

I take a quick sink bath, and there isn’t even time for coffee before we are out the door and on our way.  I score shotgun and am grateful.  These winding roads make me a bit nauseous on a good day.

Most of the drive takes us through congested roads in various towns, including crowded San Jose.  I still find it remarkable that there appears to be no road rage here…at least compared to the States, particularly Illinois, and even more specifically, Chicago.  There is no clear right of way, and being in the passenger seat is stressful.  I’m grateful not to be driving.

After about an hour, we finally start climbing.  We are in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range.  Being just an hour from San Jose, Poas is one of the most popular tourist attractions, which leaves me to wonder why the roads are still so bad.

The sun is shining, blue skies blazing, and we are all hopeful that it will be clear enough to get a good view.  Poas is an active volcano located in a cloud forest.  I have no idea what to expect, but the anticipation, excitement and suspense is fueling my desire, combating the lack of food and coffee.

Finally, we stop at a cute little touristy restaurant and have breakfast.  I break from my tradition of rice and beans (gallo pinto) and try something new.  Chorreadas is a popular sweet corn dish served with a sauce that tastes like sour cream.

chorreadas

It’s ok.  Dry.  And though we are surrounded by coffee plantations, the coffee isn’t that good.  I recognize the fact that I have been spoiled, and it’s not like it’s bad…but we all agree, we should have hit a less touristy location.

As we are finishing breakfast, it starts to rain.  And by rain, I mean torrential downpour.  The weather can change so suddenly here in the mountains.  It’s at this point we realize that none of us brought an umbrella or rain gear.  I was smart and brought my Sea to Summit dry sack and am grateful.  It’s lightweight and fits my huge lens and camera perfectly.  I can still take it with me and not have to worry about getting her wet.  I highly recommend this purchase, to any and all photographers.

We arrive at the gate, and it is still raining.  I pay more to enter since I am clearly not a local.  They have to make their money somehow.  The air is thick with the smell and taste of sulfur.  We must be close!

Walking to the viewing area is refreshing in the light drizzle.  Though the air is heavy with sulfur, it is pure.  Clean.  We are high above the city, floating amongst the clouds, and there is little pollution here.  You know, just the occasional acid rain…no big deal…

And there it is.  I’ve never seen a volcano before.  And it doesn’t just sit there.  This one clearly has a dragon living just below the surface, guarding some ancient treasure; a steady stream of smoke billowing from this huge gaping hole in the earth’s surface.

Dragons live here

And the best part of being in a cloud forest is the thunder.  You can feel it in your body, the vibration of sound.  It was powerful, like nothing I had ever experienced.

The crater is almost a mile across, and is the largest active crater in the world.   Though it is active, the last eruption took place in 1954.

Crater

Smoke and steam rise from cracks or pockets in the hot rock, called fumaroles.  At times when the pressure is great, geysers can shoot as much as 820 feet high.

Poas

Dear Visitor, In Case of Volcanic Activity…keep calm?

Dear Visitor

We walk through trails of stunted, twisted growth, resembling something out of a Tolkein novel.

Cloud Forest

Poas Vegetation

At one end of a trail, we arrive at Lake Botos that fills an extinct crater.

Lake Botos

Lake Botos

The journey home is long, and I take co-pilot once again, while Lorena and Edgar siesta.

Siesta

Along the way, we stop for some much needed coffee, and to check out the local coffee plantations.

Coffee Plantation

Ruins

Costa Rica, Poas

Stoic Puppy

Costa Rica Roadside Flowers

I recommend this trip for anyone visiting Costa Rica.  It felt like an authentic experience.  I would have left more time for chocolate and coffee plantation tours.  There were places to stay here that looked really sweet, and I would recommend them as well.  The mountain range is beautiful, and I could have spent more time here exploring and photographing.

We finally arrive home.  And in keeping with this family, there is no rest for the wicked.  We go straight into celebration mode for Edgar’s birthday.

Happy Birthday Edgar!Edgar's Birthday!Lorena, Edgar, and Edgar

Two Edgars

Three Edgars

And I am honored to be included in this family celebration.

Edgar and Jodi

For his birthday present, I gave him one of my “Dream Within a Dream” cards.  His son translated the Edgar Allen Poe poem:

All that we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream

We call it an early night.  Tomorrow Lorena, Edgar and I leave for Jaco for surfing.  One last time riding the ocean waves before heading home.

I believe in everything until it’s disproved.  So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons.  It all exists, even if it’s in your mind.  Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?  John Lennon

 

 

You don’t need to know the language to dance

Each call from beyond asks us to step outside of our ordinary sense of the world.  ~ Jack Kornfield

San Jose.  What a crazy, beautiful, complex city you are.  And this tree…!

San Jose

Stores and kiosks and markets with everything you could possibly want in life.  Fresh food, herbs, fruits and vegetables, the smell of fish, people living their lives, shopping and running errands.  It is all so mundane but foreign to me and so seems somehow exotic.

Indoor Market, San Jose

Alters burning incense and candles

Altar, San Jose

Strange and beautiful architecture

Y De La Cultura Precolombina

Y De La Cultura Precolombina

Architecture, San Jose

San Jose Windows

San Jose Architecture

San Jose

Museo National De Costa Rica

This unique structure houses one of the stone spheres of Costa Rica, an assortment of over 30 petrospheres called Las Bolas.  They are the best known stone sculpture of the Isthmo-Colombian era.

Las Bolas

Las Bolas, San Jose

And a public square with enough pigeons to rival Florence.

San Jose Square

San Jose Face Painting

Just a few Costa Rican Foxes…

Costa Rican Foxes

That night, we head out to a club.  I have no idea where we went or what the club was called.  I know that the music was good, the beer was flowing, and we all had a great time.

My dance partner

By the end of the night I’m covered in sweat; by far one of my favorite work outs.  And the best part about clubbing in a different country is that you can make a fool of yourself on the dance floor because you will most likely never see these people again.

Kill'n It

We rarely hear the inward music, but we’re all dancing to it nevertheless.  ~ Rumi

That time I lived in the mountains of Costa Rica with a Colombian family…

We all want to break our orbits, float like a satellite gone wild in space, run the risk of disintegration.  We all want to take our lives in our own hands and hurl them out among the stars.  ~ David Bottoms

Though bedtime came late last night, I awake early.  Habit.  I make my way downstairs.  It’s a school week and the kids are eating breakfast.  There’s coffee.  There’s always coffee.

In the daylight, I can see more clearly the beauty of this home.  They built it on a mountain, in a cloud forest, and have about 2 acres of land.

Diana's Painting

Diana, Lorena’s sister, is an artist.  These two paintings are her creation.

Diana's Painting

This Fibonacci spiral is another inspired touch

Fibonacci's Spiral

But the most precious detail of this home are the people who ornament it with their spirit.  I cannot say enough good things about this beautiful family who took me in and cared for me.  I felt like an orphan who was adopted.  I never wanted for a thing.  They made me feel like family.

This lovely lady, dressed to kill…

Lorena

Enjoying a lunch of rice and garbanzo beans, fried plantains, potatoes, with strawberry salsa and some sort of delicious Colombian pink drink.

Andres

After lunch, we run errands in the outskirts of San Jose.  One of those errands being the hunt for a guitar case.  Sergio took me into several stores looking for an inexpensive option to bring my new guitar home.

Later, we attend a book fair in San Jose.

Book Fair

Edgar, their father, is working here.

Edgar, Artist

More and more, I have an appreciation for what it’s like to come to a foreign country and not know the language.  I can’t help but feel frustrated by the fact that when I pick up a book, I cannot read it.

Spirals and mandalas are a recurrent theme of this trip.  Sergio, Diana’s husband, has been working on mandala paintings, and I find a book at the fair that my friend Lyndsey had at her art gallery opening back home.  This connection seems important, notable.  I like how these elements are interwoven into this experience.

Mandalas

Thursday night turns into acro night.  Lorena and I have been playing together at the retreat, and so she is familiar with some of the moves.  She’s fearless, trusting, strong and flexible, so what has taken me some time to ‘master’, she is able to accomplish in no time.

Acro

Acro Double Plank

Edgar, Lorena’s father, comes home late from the book fair after working all day.  Though he and I can barely communicate using words, we find we have a mutual language of music.

Language of Music

In the house of lovers
The music never stops,
The walls are made
of songs
and the floor dances
~Rumi

Costa Rica – Day 52 – The end is just a new beginning

I do believe in an everyday sort of magic – the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.  ~ Charles de Lint

During my last practice in the shala I have a strong deja vu moment.  Have I been here before?  Does it mean I’m on the right path?  Is it a temporal lob seizure or a past life experience?  Strange and strong and notable, I’m left to wonder its significance, if any.

My intention today is refreshing and new.  Live life to its fullest.  Every moment.  With Joy.  One life, Jodi.   This life.

No monkeys today.  I was hoping they would come to say goodbye.

I have a good practice.  Cucko stops by to show me the scorpion that was on his towel this morning.  He had his eyes closed and was drying his face, felt something scratchy.  When he opened his eyes, he saw this creature.

Cucko and his scorpian Scorpian

I eat my traditional breakfast of rice and beans, egg and toast with coffee.  I pack.  I think I have too much stuff and I’m worried my guitar won’t travel well.  I don’t have a case for it yet.

One more time on the biomat, rubbing Deep Blue into sore muscles.  I borrow the sage from the yoga studio to smudge my room, release any negative energy that I may have brought into this space.  I want the room to be clean for the next guest.  The smudge stick is difficult to light.  Everything is so damp here.  I get it smoking and walk clockwise through the space, room to room, wall to wall, reaching high into the corners where stagnant energy can linger.

As I return the sage to the yoga shala, I take a moment to formally say goodbye to my hammock, my view, the portal, the yin/yang, the forest, and the trees that have all become my daily companions on this spiritual journey.  Each has played their part, and I am thankful for them all, for supporting me, for being spacious enough to contain everything that came pouring out of me these past weeks.  All of the joy, and all of the sorrow.

All of it.

It’s time to go.  I feel this incredible fear.  I am afraid.  What if where I am going is more challenging than where I am at?  What if…what if…and what if it is amazing?  And wonderful?  What if that happens, Jodi.  Trust.  It’s time to go.

2 hours later, through cold, constant rain, we round a corner and come upon a sloth.  A sloth!  In the road.  I have the driver pull over and we escort the little guy off to the side so he doesn’t get hit.

Sloth!

By the time we come back to the car, my hair and clothes are soaking wet.  I am grateful to arrive at Lorena’s home in the mountains.  She makes me coffee and prepares food.  Fried plantains, cheese, and bread.  More coffee.  Hot, delicious coffee.

Her sister, husband and two children arrive home.  I greet them all.  We eat together.  Her brother arrives, he lives just down the way.  The father lives there too, but is at a book fair where he is working, drawing caricatures for the patrons.

These will be my people for the next week.  My family.  There is no awkwardness between us.  I am welcomed with open arms, immediate trust, food, drink, and curiosity.  They have never hosted a girl from the States before.  This is new for us both.

We make a fire, and begin to share our stories.  We play pool, laugh, listen to music, dance.  The fear that sat like a heavy stone in my gut the entire ride here is long gone, replaced with warmth and companionship.  I am joyous.

Echeverri Family Echeverri Family

Finally, it is time for bed.  It’s been a long day and I am tired.

At various points in our lives, or on a quest, and for reasons that often remain obscure, we are driven to make decisions which prove with hindsight to be loaded with meaning.  ~ Swami Satchidananda, the Yoga Sutra.