the big picture

we’ve slowed down pretty dramatically since entering costa rica – taking a deliberate pause. while i still have the urgent impulse to keep moving, keep seeing, keep doing, worried about making the most of this time, i am continually reminded that a different kind of pace is wanted here. so much of what costa rica has to offer it the kind of thing which can only be seen when you slow down enough for opportunity. palm-sized electric blue butterflies land on gaudy pink hibiscus flowers, as glimpsed on a lazy bicycle ride in the midafternoon sun. finding a browsing sloth in the treetops above on an aimless beach stroll. following the overhead flicker of red-bellied birds while lying in the shady sand. catching a toad as big as a coconut out of the corner of your eye over a late breakfast. these are things which will not be rushed.

we watched “the motorcycle diaries”again tonight – the movie about che guevara’s seminal road trip through south america. i remember seeing it before, but i am struck by the difference now. i see flashes of familiar – places i’d only dreamt about when i last saw this, now mine in memory. these are parts of me that i get to keep. i have these, tucked away under my belt for reminiscing, tomorrow or a lifetime from now. when it is winter in london, i will always have summer in bangkok or spring in beijing.

these are parts of me i get to keep.

at the end of the film, che says “i am not the me i once was”. there is truth in that, i know. i am not the same me who dreamt of someday seeing machu picchu – i am now the girl who climbed the inca trail in the rain, saw dawn over the sun gate, bowed low to enter the temple of the condor. i have breathed the mist into my veins, felt the cool stone beneath fingertips, heard the echoes reverberate off the green peaks.

so i get it now, what this deep stirring ache is at the bottom of my heart. i recognise what these growing pains are. it’s clear to me what is happening.

it is not, as i originally thought, that i simply see the world differently. it is that i am different because of the world.

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