Monday, July 25, 2011

Stop, Still and Listen: Reflections on Time

Time passes much more slowly here, the sounds of raindrops and the calls of birds fill the empty spaces.  A howler monkey growls in the far distance signaling the dawn.  The neighborhood stray dogs bark at the farmer and his dog as they pass by our house on his way out to his farm breaking the morning calm.  This morning we woke up and heard the ocean from our room even though we are probably about a half kilometer from the beach.  All of the daily sounds take on more significance in the “silence”, the bed creaks, our host mother clears her throat in the room next to us, a squeaky gate is closed in the house across the street, and the rhythmic sound of footsteps on the unpaved road appear slowly and then gently fade into the distance.

Here we have no TV, we don’t listen to radio, and our town has no movie theater or other type of diversion which are common in the States.  We don’t have internet in our house, although there are two internet cafés in town, one of which we visit about once a week.   Occasionally we’ll watch a movie which we’ve downloaded to a portable hard drive to entertain ourselves, producing a gentle nostalgia of the lives that we left before we came to Costa Rica.  And in between our daily actions as time passes with the slow movement of a cloud, we listen: a rooster crows, wind tenderly kisses a curtain, a cricket hums, the sound of thunder rumbles in the distance, a pan clatters against the kitchen sink.

In the sounds of the day we hear joy and we hear sadness and all that falls in-between, as people go along in their daily lives.  Time passes, life moves on.  And in the world, all of these sounds amass to create a grand symphony, ever-changing.  Someone is born, another dies.  A car passes a church on the highway as a congregation sings a hymn.  Right now someone is starving; another is listening to the sounds of jet engines on his way on vacation.  Wars rage in distant lands as firecrackers are lit to celebrate someone’s birthday.  A child kisses her mother, a baby coos, a grandfather laughs, a cat purrs.

And, here I sit in my room on my bed, a small speck of sediment making its way from the swift river to the big wide ocean.  How and where and what will be my destination, where will I settle when the waters deposit me on the shores of time.  I am trying to follow this course without fighting it, allowing the river to take me where it wants to, and listening to the sounds to give me guidance.

  Who needs a hammock?

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