It is so windy! I’ve never felt wind like this before! My hair is in huge rumpled knots most of the time. But the air is sweet and warm and blows the sun around so it doesn’t feel as strong. Today we had Spanish placement tests (oh my!) and saw GIANT birds and went into town for the first time. Our town, Atenas, is just delightful. The sun rises and sets early, and it’s surrounded by hilly countryside with coffee and fruit fields. A few years ago National Geographic made it famous by stating that it had one of the best climates in the world (the back of all the buses say, "El Mejor Clima del Mundo!"). Every single tree is different--it’s the most incredible thing. And the residents (there are only about 5,000) we’ve met have all been abundantly warm and friendly—“Buenos Dias! Pura vida!”
On the flight down I read about Ashirta Furman who's set more than three hundred world records. His repertoire of records range from jumping underwater on a pogo stick in the Amazon River for three whole hours, to running the fastest mile with a milk bottle on his head, to bowling backwards! At first this seemed to be a lavish use of time--a mere publicity stunt-- a man who wasn't ever satisfied with his personal best but had to be the worlds best. Reading further, Furman explains his belief that "extreme physical pursuits offer a means of transcending the self" and bring you to a level of consciousness where you have trained your body to a certain point, and then you have to let go and let something else take over. He begins each challenge with a calm mind, with open and forgiving expectations, and with exciting jubilance.
The relevance of this may be lost on you, but this story, combined with the inertia of flight and unavoidable forward momentum pushed all worries to the back of my head. Clarity and graciousness came forward in its place. I am so lucky. What a life I have to feel both excited to go, and sad to leave.