More about my trips to Central America… 

We had to go into the town of Chepo because someone had brought me a dead margay.  The margay is a small wild cat and the fellow had heard I was interested in animals.  He thought I wanted them for the skin.  I explained that I was looking for live animals but he got very angry and insisted that I buy the cat.  Carlos had heard about this and came to town.  He started arguing with the guy but in the end suggested that I buy it as long as the man understood that I didn’t want any more dead animals.

Carlos then brought me to Chepo in the canoe taxi because he knew someone who would buy the dead margay from me.  We landed at Capitano where we took the little bus (pick up truck with side rails) to Chepo.  The bus left us off at the center of town where the main road from the capital ended.  While Carlos went off to sell the cat I wandered around that area. 

I had been used to the slow pace and quiet of our little jungle town and had forgotten how busy and noisy the city was.  I was overwhelmed.  Yet this was nothing like New York.  Compared to my original home Chepo was a little hick town.  I noticed that the personalities of the people were very strong and they spoke loudly.  Everyone wanted to voice their opinion about everything.

I wandered by the auction house where cattle was displayed and auctioned off.  I liked the smell of cattle and horses.  Every few minutes a car would speed by raising a huge cloud of dust.  None of the roads were paved and it was still the dry season.  I couldn’t understand why they drove so fast when they could drive through the whole “city” in a few minutes.

Carlos found me and after buying some supplies, we had some fried chicken at a roadside eating place.  Carlos commented on how busy the city was.  He made a motion with his hands like the wind of a tornado and then opened and closed his fingers to imitate people talking so much.  I told him that all this commotion was making me feel bad and I felt bad already because of the margay incident.

We went back to Capitano but the tide wasn’t in enough for the taxi to leave the dock.  Carlos argued with the boatman for a while and then paid him some money to bring us back anyway.  Within a few minutes of the trip we had to disembark and pull the canoe over the rocky small river leading to Rio Chepo.  The water was too shallow. The stones on the river floor were killing my feet.  We had to pull the canoe about a half mile and had to hold on tightly because the small rapids were trying to pull the canoe away from us.   

By that time the tide had come in enough so we could get back in the boat and we returned home.  Carlos had me follow him back to his hut up in the hills and I must have complained a lot about my feet.  That just made him laugh.  When we got to the hut he made a small fire and we both stood by the fire, warming our feet.

Suddenly he said, “That was some workout for our feet!” and he slapped me hard on the back.  I felt as if I were passing out but had the unusual sensation that I was in my feet and ankles.  I was in the parts of me that were in pain and were being warmed up by the fire.  The rest of me seemed “up there”.  I thought of “getting back up” as that seemed were I should be but I had no means to do so.  There was no one left up in the mother ship to beam me up.  Yet I was able to stand upright and not fall. 

After a while Carlos helped me to sit down and gradually I came back into my head.  Carlos then slapped my feet as if to wake them up and my attention jumped back down.  He turned to look at me and my attention went back up into my eyes. 

Carlos asked me, “Where is your home?” and I automatically said, “Long Island”.  He laughed.  “Where are you now?” he asked and I replied, “Panama”.  He laughed again as if I were an entertainer keeping him amused. 

Carlos asked, “Are you in your head or in your feet right now?”  I understood what he meant and told him I was all right.  “I didn’t ask you if you were all right, I asked you where you were.”  I felt myself about to sink back down into my feet again but fought to stay “up”.  Half of me fell down and half of me stayed up.  I was in my feet and ankles and in my head at the same time.  This confused me so much that I just didn’t know what to do. 

Carlos looked at me up and down.  A small dog came over and also looked at me up and down.  Carlos looked at the dog and the dog barked in such a way that he seemed to shrug his shoulders.  He sniffed me, looked at me in the eyes, walked away and I would swear that he shook his head in confusion and grumbled.

Then Carlos started rubbing my belly which I thought was an inappropriate thing to do, but only half of me thought that.  The half that was in my feet started moving up to where I was being rubbed and when “it” got there, Carlos slapped my belly once. 

At that point I recalled the hustle and bustle of Chepo.  That scene superimposed itself on my whole body.  I understood that there was a lot of hustle and bustle within my body and mind and immediately felt uncomfortable, like I wanted all that busyness to stop immediately.  

Carlos laid me down near the fire and my body warmed up.  I could feel the air on the other side of the fire starting to cool down for the evening.  At this point the part of “me” that was in my feet and ankles and that had spread to my belly, also filled my torso and joined the head part of my attention.  My awareness was now in the whole of my body, and my body quieted down.  It felt like the busyness had been absorbed by the earth.

The smell of dinner soon absorbed all of my attention and I very slowly got up.  I felt as if I were breathing into every cell of my body, that the air and the earth merged and created me at every moment.  I breathed in very deeply as the smells were wonderful.

Tree frogs began singing all around us and I could feel their songs inside of me, as when you feel the vibrations of music when you sit in front of a large speaker.  The frog songs were very delicate and yet I could feel them as if each part of my body were like a tuning fork being vibrated by them. 

When I finally sat down to eat, the smells and taste of the food were overwhelmingly satisfying. Yet it seemed to be the same beans & rice, chicken and chopped vegetables that were the usual fare here. 

I thought that it would be hard to go home to Long Island, to face the busyness and have my body vibrate to the hustle and bustle.  I understood how the environment outside duplicates itself inside of our bodies and hearts. And I began to understand how the forces of nature merge to create you. 

We suddenly heard the howler monkeys begin to howl.  The people at this hut and in several others along the trails shouted in unison.  Then we went back to eating.

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