This is a day in the life.
I woke up at 6. There was a lot a lot of rain and so I didn’t go to the garden this morning. It’s not good to touch the soil too much when it’s wet—it would be super hard to dig more drainage even as it was pouring on our heads in the meantime. Additionally, everyone talks about how lovely it is to sleep while it’s raining. Here the rain drums loud on the metal roof, making such a noise that you can’t forget about it.
Even so, I got up and ate cheese empanadas for breakfast, with coffee from right here in Aquiares. As I was eating, I turned to look at the cat and Seidy said to me, Don’t look behind you. Naturally, I looked behind me.
No! she said. There’s a spider. She knows I’m terrified of spiders. But I thought she meant there was one on the wall or something, heading right toward me. I twisted around in my seat again, and there in a big plastic jar was a giant, giant spider. Like the size of my hand (almost) if all its legs had been stretched out. For the lovely people of Costa Rica, that’s not so huge, but here I am from New York and holy crow. It is called a picacaballos, like horse biter. Titi emerged from her room and examined it only to say how beautiful it was.
They found this spider under the sink when they’d gone to adjust something with the water. In other words, it could have been lurking down there next to my legs as I washed the dishes, and was sitting next to my very hands as I searched for the blender yesterday, and they only encountered it today, this morning.
All this led to a long discussion of various poisonous animals. Snakes are a veritable danger here, and there is always a lot of talk about terciopelos (this word also means velvet in Spanish). They cause the majority of deaths by snakebite here in Costa Rica. I haven’t seen one, but I have seen other snakes. One day while Toño was picking coffee, he found a poisonous snake and trapped it in a bottle with holes punched in it so he could set it free far away later. Titi was talking on the phone with her mom as she looked for frogs, and suddenly there was a snake poised to attack right in front of her. She’s fine, because she didn’t panic, just backed away, and Seidy explained to me that these snakes are territorial, so it would rather guard its domain than go chasing after some random scientist in the rainforest.
So here we were talking about all these poisonous, dangerous animals, when Seidy’s brother-in-law (Titi’s uncle) enters the house with a hummingbird nestled in his hand. It had fallen from the sky onto his shoe and hadn’t been able to fly away again, so there it was squeaking in his hand with its long, skinny beak protruding from between his fingers. It was deep blue with green tinting its feathers, and had tiny beady black eyes. Titi fed it some sugar and they watched it fly away. Then she set off for the supermarket as if nothing special had happened.
It’s been a morning full of nature, with a piece of it still sitting in that plastic jar behind me.