Drink the Wild Air

by Jennifer Haddow | April 21, 2016

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Corcovado Park in southern Costa Rica is one of the wildest places on the planet. National Geographic has called it “the most biologically intense place on Earth”. I imagined that it would be spectacular, but I couldn’t fathom how this place would change me, penetrate on a cellular level.

I stepped out of my comfy bamboo eco-cottage perched high in the mountains and almost gasped with amazement. I have never been in such a lush landscape, the canopy of trees spread out to the horizon like a vast sea of green. I felt that I could drink the air, hungry to absorb all I could of that rich, delicious oxygen. A sloth in the tree overhead seemed to wink lazily at me, reminding me that slowing down is to savour life, pura vida as they call it in Costa Rica. There, I began to breathe more deeply, naturally.

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In the morning we woke at sunrise to paddle around the lagoon. Scarlet macaws flashed brilliantly in the sparkle of morning sunlight, flying in a dance along the edge of the rain forest. The twitter of birds and rhythmic beat of waves crashing on the beach made an entrancing soundtrack to this dramatic scene. I felt deep renewal and stillness within this wild symphony, spellbound.

In the afternoon we ride horses along the black sand beach, crossing the tracks of sea turtles left from the day before in their pilgrimage to find a safe place to nest. I felt like a pilgrim too, on a quest to be enveloped by something bigger than myself, a kind of salvation in nature’s rawness, for a blessing of that elemental elixir.

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Then we travelled north to the winding rivers of Tortuguero Park, one of the primary nesting sites for the largest, rarest turtles in the world – green, leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead. Turtles are indeed tough, a 110 million year old species that lived with the dinosaurs. They are the ultimate survivors, these wise ones, primordial badasses. Being on the edge of their nest makes me feel deeply comforted, knowing that the wild is an ancient home I can come back to, over and over again to feel reborn.
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In Costa Rica I feel so deeply nourished, like I can drink the wild air and feast on the radiance of the trees. I feel like a kid in a candy store, wide eyed and almost giddy with the prospect of devouring all of the treats before me. Costa Rica is like that, where I have come to expect to be continually delighted, around every corner there is an ecological surprise – a toucan spying in the bushes, a spider monkey scrambling up a tree, a iridescent blue morpho butterfly appearing to flirt with me.

Pura Vida. The pure life. The way we are all meant to be, part of the fabric of this tapestry of wildlife. But it is so much more than just a spectacle, a sensation of nature’s delights. In Costa Rica, I feel more connected with my own vitality.

Slow down. Savour. Let yourself be delighted. And know that pura vida is more than a place, it is a way of being.

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