In a couple of days, I will be in Guatemala so this will be the last post with my firsthand account of how Wolf is doing until I return in two weeks. Fortunately I am leaving with a sigh of relief as our friend seems to be doing quite well.
I spent the last week on the Caribbean, lounging in the jungle with Roberto. It was mostly sunny and wonderfully warm, with a few early morning sprinkles of rain, just enough to make you stay in bed. As always, Roberto would be the first up, starting the fire and bringing me hot blessed coffee. I love being with a man who loves to cook. I’m happy to take my turn, but Roberto is always stirring the embers and happily preparing food. As often as not, whatever the main ingredient, there is the rich flavor of coconut, a bite of thyme, and a Panamanian pepper thrown in just to make you sweat.
While we were enjoying the slow days and ways of the Caribbean, Wolf was steadily making progress in his hospital bed. He has continued to eat well and now we can bring him fresh fruit and juices without problems from the nurses. It is amazing how he craves fruit. I’m sure the cool, fresh flavors with enough sweetness to soothe a diabetic and enough liquid to moisten his lips, mouth and throat are what makes him request melons, papaya, apples, pineapple…the list of available fruit is endless.
About the same time that we were visiting with our neighbor and local shaman, Fausto, the doctors at the hospital started Wolf on a bit of a medicinal cocktail, hoping to find the right combination to keep him balanced, functioning and happy. I noticed on my return that, after a week away, his talking has leveled off, even if his ideas are still somewhat sky bound. So it would seem that something is working properly. I expect that he will remain in the hospital for at least a couple of weeks to make sure that he remains stable before taking him back up the green mountain to home. They are also doing therapy on his hand that has been left quite weak either from being tied too much or possibly from a small stroke.
I was enjoying my own cocktails in Cahuita as well as lots of wandering around the countryside. Roberto and I went for a walk into the hills near us to a place called Carbon (obviously an old coal mining area). We visited an eco-lodge, Casa Calateas, a cluster of beautiful wooden buildings on a private biological preserve that are available for groups to rent.
It was a complete coincidence that I had spent Semana Santa on this same land about fifteen years ago when it was a subsistence farm belonging to a friend, Gerardo, and his family – I specifically remember a very large hog being in the picture, but then most of my stories of the campo in Costa Rica involve large pigs. It turns out that maybe twelve years ago, Gerardo’s mother Maria decided to move closer to town and sold the land to a group of local residents interested in creating a protected area. Years ago we camped on cleared hillsides but they are now covered in forest with spectacular views over the Talamanca highlands.
I was very happy to be able to bring news to Wolf that I’ve been contacted by the person who is editing the Spanish translation of Walking with Wolf. The process has been a lesson in patience, but there is definitely movement. On Wednesday, the day before I head to Guatemala, I have a meeting with the editor to answer questions about the text. When Wolf said that he planned on staying alive until the Spanish edition came out, I figured he wasn’t kidding. Hopefully we will be celebrating its publication soon!
On the other hand, I continue to wait for the land survey to be returned to me for my piece of paradise near Cahuita. It has been several months and some people say it’s suspicious, while others say it happens this way, these legal processes are very slow. Since I’ve been so distracted elsewhere, I haven’t been paying it much mind, but I may have to light a fire under somebody’s belly soon. In the meantime, Roberto is cleaning the land, planting trees, and crotons and hibiscus along the fence line. It is hard not to imagine a little wooden casita popped up like a magic mushroom between the bananas one day.
Roberto’s cat and jungle sidekick, Miel, was happy to see me since I pamper him in ways that Roberto would never do. I did notice, however, that there wasn’t a single lizard, gecko or salamander in the area around the rancho. The only thing I can say that is positive is that at least if the cat is going to hunt everything that moves, he doesn’t waste it – every little bit is eaten.
We spent a morning on the beach with the hopes of snorkeling and fishing, but the sea was rough and too churned up for seeing anything under water. Instead, Roberto came across a fishing net washed up on shore, and as I swam and soaked up the sun, he patiently cut the lengths of rope and colorful floats out of the net. Just like Miel, not a drop was wasted.
The weather was idyllic for being out at night so we wandered the beach as well as the town, visiting with friends on the street and doing a little dancing to the local calypso band. It was a great break from the city where I’ve basically been since the beginning of January.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this will be the last blog written in Costa Rica for awhile. I am headed to Guatemala to renew my visa – first to Antigua where my friends EDITUS are playing a concert, then up to San Pedro la Laguna, on stunning Lake Atitlan to visit my buddies Treeza and Rick and to catch up with that dynamic community that I visited a couple of years ago. It promises to be a swell time in the land of the Mayans. I am thrilled that I’m leaving Wolf in such a strong and upbeat condition, eating well, talking pretty normal, and getting ready to howl at the moon. I’ll come back soon and give him something to howl at! Any news I hear while away, I’ll be sure to pass on to y’all!