It is the simple things in life that are the sweetest, and sometimes by looking too far ahead; we can miss the lovely moments that are right here, in the present, smiling brightly with open arms to experience each unique one to the fullest.
This past weekend, was a weekend to soak it all in, and to remember the little things. In preparation, I turned on my consciousness, and ensured that my “feelers for life” were in tune, to really feel, hear, sense and experience the world around me. Living here in southern Belize, gives way for bounties every day, but the intention has to be in tune.
It all starts in the early morning, as the calm darkness is slowly turning into light, and the family of howler monkeys is stretching and hollering, “Good morning!” to their cousins across the jungle, who howl back with an enduring and daunting howl…oooo oo oo….they continue their rhythm, back and forth, until all have shared their dreams… now it’s the Chachalaca bird’s take over!
In tune, they all begin! Shrieking into the morning sun, claiming their place in the jungle; we are the Chachalaca’s! And now you are awake!
It seems that our sleep rhythm has slipped into the rhythm of the jungle, and nature has its ways of luring us to sleep and waking us to begin the day.
The morning is a special time: the gentle air, the light breeze, the incredible array of birds basking in the cool trees, stretching their wings… and the lovely sound of the La Marzocco turning our desire to an aromatic Americano. Sipping the citrusy beans, we see a toucan slip into the trees… oh my goodness! Binoculars allow us to see it’s beautiful beak and vibrant colors, as it perches just long enough to appreciate its beauty before flying away from the Trumpet Tree, its favorite dwelling place. Now I understand fruit loops, Toucan Sam the theme for every kids favorite breakfast, is a bird that just loves the morning! How sweet… too sweet?
Fresh eggs and fresh greens from the farm with breakfast, reminds me of how incredible growing your own food can be…as the greens are bursting with flavor, I smile and so does my stomach, knowing that the most nutrients are derived from these precious veggies are picked so close to home.
As the sun takes more of the morning sky, bringing a bright blue hue, and our Americano’s have livened our bodies and sparked our minds, we are ready to bike!
It’s Saturday, and the market in Punta Gorda, is bursting with fresh Caribbean produce… the same few stands of lovely families selling fresh garden fruits and vegetables that create a mosaic of color, fresh green herbs, beautifully extracted coconut oil from the local farm, and lovely ladies selling their breakfast fare of tamales, rice and beans, and cassava bread… yes please! A whole new treat for the senses!
For Kelly and I, the bike ride into town takes about half an hour… with our sun hats on, and our sunglasses set, the trip is a breeze, past the cane, cocoa, coffee and cohune palm trees!
The air is just warm enough to feel a bit of sweat start to form, but as we pick up the pace, the breeze cools us down. As we cycle through the path, over the bumps and dirt road… we take in a deep breath… mmmmm… to the sweet smell of the farm, fruits and flowers that fill the air with their complimenting aromas.
Woops! To big a deep breath, I cough on a bug that fly’s right inside! As Kelly laughs his head off, I squirm and whirl and spit until the bug is released… peddle peddle peddle, we are almost at the turn off. The gravel road to the farm comes to an end, as we head onward on the south-facing road, straight for the Caribbean Sea.
It is so neat to feel the air change, from the farmland to the road, to the ocean. The coolness from the trees, the heat radiating from the pavement, to the fresh, salty sea breeze… refresh and refresh.
The sunshine heated the morning up quickly, so we stop at our favorite little smoothie place, the Snack Shak for papaya and pineapple smoothie (for me), and mint brownie ice cream (for Kelly)! Treats treats, and I love Kelly. Sipping and smiling.
After grabbing fresh ginger and yams from our ever ready farmer friend, we head up the road, pushing our bikes…Little did we know that his past weekend, it was “PG Days” in Punta Gorda, and there was traditional music, spontaneous dancing from passerby’s (like us!), rice and beans, and sweets! We parked our bikes to walk around, and to really get our feet moving to the music and our taste buds tantalized. It’s hard not to tap your feet, do a little spin, or shake your hips to the Punta (Kelly and I are still practicing our moves… Kelly is actually good) when you hear the drums, maracas and guitar.
Tapping and strolling we go… Hey! Music really does attract a crowd, as we spotted friends, we all gathered around… laughing at the coincidence of running into each other here, we decided to take a photo to remember this time… these are sweet friends we have met here in Punta Gorda, games nights, and volunteer trips together, have been a highlight!
Lunch was around the corner, at least that’s what our stomachs were saying… loud and clear… deciding which food stand or little restaurant to indulge in one simple, as could be, when I heard of fresh tamales, I knew right away! From the small little kitchen on the corner of the street, appeared the smooth, seasoned, sweet corn presented with stewed beans on the side… delicious and divine! With homemade stewed chicken, rice and beans, for Kelly, we were feeling content, settling into the afternoon.
This time of day, as we are easing into to our body’s natural inclination, we gave in to peddle home a bit slower with the heat. Detoxifying with each peddle I take… mind over matter, it’s just like hot yoga, we can do this!
The humid, Belizean weekend afternoon is a time where everyone seems to slow down, take a moment, take a nap… for our cycle home, we are happy for the heat in the sense that the guard dogs “cool it” as we pass by them, instead of chasing our feet! When we arrive back home, we take a lesson from nature, to rest and savor, the slow moving air on a Saturday.
About one hour or so before sunset, the humid air seems to lift, and the birds begin their song of relief… the Melodies Black Birds always take over the show, with little snip-its from many other species, I have yet to know! The orchestra of the jungle continues into the sunset, as the crickets harmonize, and the frogs tune in, and the light bugs begin to ignite in preparation for the night.
As the yellow, orange, and pink dips below the stencils of trees on the horizon, we notice hawks in the distance, circling high for the last catch of prey… it is only just after six at night. The moon rises to light a path and the stars are beaming bright, as the night bugs take their cue, and light up the grass, in a carpet of twinkling lights… such an amazing sight! I am at awe every night.
The crickets lure us into the night just outside out window, and the howler monkeys howl through the trees from a far, “Goodnight” which is sealed with a kiss from the kissing geckos hiding in our room.