Mother turtle dance + stars and hermit crabs

The night we went to the beach to look for a mother turtle was magical.

We were led by Eddie, a young Italian biologist working among fisherman on the Nicoya peninsula. His mission is to educate them about sustainable fishing as well as to do his part in preserving the sea turtles.

There were no lights other than the red light from his headlamp. Brighter lights disturb the turtles. It was a perfect clear night, and the multitude of stars seemed low enough to reach out and touch.

As we walked almost blindly, there were what seemed to be a lot of rocks or shells. Eddie shone the light at our feet and we were simultaneously delighted and horrified to see thousands of small hermit crabs scurrying around! It was impossible not to step on them, but Eddie said that our weight would just push them into the sand.

Finally, Eddie told us he had spotted an Olive Ridley turtle, but we all needed to stay back while she dug her hole. When she began laying, he said, she would go into a trance and wouldn’t be aware of our presence. When he said we could, we circled around her and watched in wonder. It’s hard to see in this picture, and you can google and see lots of clear pictures, but this is me sharing my experience of this amazing act of nature.

facebook_15545109512643374422557313649060.jpg

As we stood in awe, Eddie informed us that he had discovered that the turtle was missing a back rudder, and he suspected that the hole wasn’t deep enough. Turtle eggs are highly susceptible to predators such as raccoons and dogs, who often steal them as they are laid or shortly after. So he said that when she was finished, we would dig them up and relocate them to a deeper nest in a safer place on the beach.

After the eggs were laid, she covered them with sand, and, turning in circles, patted the sand down.  This took about 20 minutes, and we could see that she was hindered by her lack of  a rudder. We followed her as she made her way in the starlight to the ocean, cheering for her as she reached the water, never to see the fruit of her labor.

 

Eddie immediately started digging up the nest, and allowed someone in the group to assist. We were all awestruck as the count went up and up until the total of eggs was 108! The eggs were placed in a bag and passed around so we could all feel it’s weight – quite heavy! Imagine the work – this sea animal, beautiful in the water but awkward on land, hauling her already heavy body, made even heavier with these eggs,50 feet over land before releasing them from her body and returning to the sea.

facebook_15545110440707158896351554616514.jpg

While we were engrossed in the task of rescuing these eggs, Eddie spotted another turtle. By the time the last egg was recovered from the first nest, the second turtle had begun laying. We again watched the act with a reverent awe, and as this mother, with all her flippers intact,  began her dance of covering the precious eggs, we could see the perfection. She patted, and twirled, and rested a bit, then repeated this over and over until she was satisfied with her work.

 

After we cheered her on her return trek to the ocean, it was somewhat anticlimactic to  watch Eddie locate a spot to rebury the eggs. It was all a wonder, though, and I will always hold that night in my heart as one of the most amazing I have ever experienced.

Here is a link to a youtube video of an Olive Ridley giving birth, covering the eggs, and going back to the sea. It is very cool, but doesn’t capture the magic of being there on the dark beach under the blanket of stars being a part of the mystery of life.

 

 

Jungle trek

This morning we were told by our guide that we should wear something that we don’t mind getting wet. She also told us to be careful with what we took, anything could get wet if we slipped. We were going to take a hike to a waterfall and wade in a river. So I decided not to bring my phone, as others would be taking and sharing pictures.

The experience was beyond my imagination.

facebook_15542090900675300616949490808965.jpg

A local guy named Will who also works at the ecolodge was our guide for this adventure. First, he handed out walking sticks, said they were required.

We started slowly down a wide path as he told us about the native plants and herbs, even tasting some of them. Gradually the walk got steeper, and I was thankful for the  steps that had been fashioned into them. He continued to talk about the plants, trees, and wildlife in an engaging manner. Here are just a few photos: a pineapple (rare to see growing wild), a blue jean frog (poisonous) and this cactus thing attached to a tree.

facebook_15542084600867701877805844060198.jpgWe eventually came to a small rocky creek down in the valley. Turns out, this was the river. It is dry season, currently. In rainy season, it becomes a raging torrent. We were all grateful for our walking sticks as we stepped into the cold water and picked our way over the rocks.

facebook_15542081190923082758939316490484.jpg

Then we saw it – a cascading waterfall at the end of a narrow passage. The water was knee deep at times. The fall plummeted into a small pool, and we took our turns getting into the waist deep water, our delighted screams at the frigid temperature filling the air.

I thought that we would have a similar hike back, but turned out that the way back was down the river! We walked through the ankle to knee deep water, admiring the green-covered canyon walls on each side.

Finally, reaching dry land, we had yet another treat! There was a pool, roughly filled in facebook_15542074609002787757350077073029.jpgwith concrete and rocks, fed by the river! As we oohed and aahed, Will gave each of us a chunk of the red clay natural to the area and demonstrated that we should wet it and rub it on our face and body! We had a marvelous time, and my skin felt extra smooth after this beauty treatment. It was like a spa in the forest!

 

facebook_15542095586591278662696723333249.jpg

Ending and beginning

I have had an amazing week!

Just as I expected, the five day intensive to wrap up my ayurvedic studies was exciting, confidence building, wonderful, and intense! I got to spend 5 days with my amazing teacher and 20 like-minded people who became, in a very short time, my family as well as my friends – my “peeps”.

As I have been away from home, immersed in study and then for the last two days on a mini vacation, I have also been given inspiration on what to do next and looked at my present job situation with new perspective.

The first thing I am going to do is start a new blog which will be focused on ayurveda as well as my personal journey in finding it and how it can be useful in daily life.  I think it will be helpful to me to pull together what I have learned by writing about it, with the goal of being able to teach others and have my own clients.

Stepping away from my day to day usual routine and the job that provides me with a roof over my head and food to eat is always a mind bender, and this time even more so. I had set a goal a little over a year ago to quit my job in June of 2016, when I finished with this course. And here it is, June 2016. A few months ago I decided to stay, to not be so drastic, and then things started happening that make me think that I am being guided away. My boss quit, and I was evicted from the office space I’ve had for 4 years due to what is the equivalent of office politics in a hospital.  Middle management isn’t supportive, and upper management doesn’t care, and as I write this, it just makes me wonder what am I holding on to?

I’ve had a tendency to hold on to relationships and jobs long past time to let go and move on, and I think that is what I am doing. Fear, again. Uncertainty, as usual. As difficult as it is, it is the known. But I have a new tool that I gained recently. Instead of fighting with the fear, or running from it, I have learned to make friends with it, to look at it as serving a purpose. And so I will sit with the fear for a bit, talk to it, question it.

I will go back to the job.  I want to take a zen mindset with me. Zen as defined in the urban dictionary:

swans on the lotus lagoon

One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.  

I’ve had a tendency to try to fight what is inevitable, to act as if I have some sort of secret power to change the minds of management if I just dig in my heels hard enough.  I think I’m done with that. I need to stop holding on to what doesn’t serve me well.

I know, deep down that the timing is perfect for great change. That there is nothing to fear. That walking away from a closed door is walking towards an open one.

You can’t win a battle against those who have no honor. There is no reasoning with closed minds and no persuasion that will open a closed heart.  – mystical Cat tarot card

 

And now I turn my heart towards home.