Pura Vida


My family and I were traveling the winding roads of Costa Rica from San Jose to Manuel Antonio, it was the summer of 2005. For months we had talked about our trip. For years I had dreamt of going to Costa Rica.

Even before we arrived, I somehow felt connected to the amazing experience we would share as a family. I can still hear the howler monkeys singing through the jungle surrounding our hotel. They howled day and night and jumped from tree to tree right outside our balcony.
My youngest son was six at the time and I remember explaining to him that we were not at the zoo, this was where the monkey's actually lived.

Each day held it's own adventure, more amazing than the day before. One moment that is forever locked in my memory was zip lining through the jungle. As we trekked up the mountain to the platforms to take off, I thought about my six year and hoped he would be okay. Were we crazy for
letting him do this? As the guides attached his harness to the wire it was time for him to fly. My son was small and light weight so the guide tossed him off the platform to give him enough momentum to make it to the other side. He sped across the zip line. In the moments to come, among the sounds of the birds singing in the jungle and the monkeys howling, you could hear the giggles of a little boy flying through the trees. I often reflect on that moment by looking at the picture I took as he was flying toward me. I have never seen a look of such pure joy and fun in my entire life. The people on the tour, as well as the guides fell in love with the free spirit of that giggling blue eyed six year old. The picture says it all, the adventure of zip lining, his arms out as if he is flying, camouflage pants, the tall trees in the back ground, simply attached to a wire by a harness high within the hillside, helmet on his head, smile embedded on his face, his eyes dancing as he zipped through the trees. In Costa Rica they often refer to Pura Vida, which essentially means "pure life", although that is a translation, it more directly means "plenty of life", "full of life" or "this is living"-how appropriate.

D Cartie

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