Rain Forest Offers Opportunity for Reflections on Reality

While looking straight down 100 feet over the edge of a 15 square foot platform with only a harness and a much too thin rope holding me onto the platform in a Costa Rican rain forest I thought, “How ironic is it that Shaq refers to himself as ‘The Big Aristotle’ when he probably can’t even spell Aristotle?” Alright, I didn’t really think that. I thought, “I wonder if my mom will loan me money so I can make a bid on spending a day with Jose Canseco while he’s still on house arrest?” You’re right, I didn’t think that either. I really thought, “What on Earth am I doing up here?” I stared down watching a leaf fall down into an unrecognizable void where the canopy ends and the forest floor begins. I was spending my last few precious days of summer touring the northeastern coast of Costa Rica. I had already rented a juice box on wheels (Kia Sportage) and found some of the heaviest and fastest waves on the Pacific coast and now I figured I take my chances in the rain forest. When I went to sign up for this trip I was presented with a plethora of places and tours I could go on. This one particular tour caught my eye because the selling point was, “Do Nine Activities” as opposed to others who only did four or five activities in one day. Some of these nine that they advertised were horse back riding, zip-line tours of the rain forest canopy, a water slide, lunch and many others. The ‘many others’ were putting our shoes on, tying them and standing up which counted as three activities. This was fine with me because the horses and zip-lines were all I could really handle. To get to the starting point of the canopy tour we had to ride seemingly untrained horses into the rain forest. This presented a great challenge for me because I am rather frightened of horses. I fear the horse just turning around and biting my hand or foot off while I rode it. Why wouldn’t it do that? What have I done for that horse lately other than kick it and sit on it? Forty minutes later my guide learned to ignore me when I would yell, “My horse is kidnapping me!” while he would look back and see the horse trotting in the group with everyone else. My group reached the base of the canopy tour where we put on climbing harnesses and headed up into the trees. Our guide, who was on permanent slow-mo’, danced and skipped about a platform no bigger than your bathtub. He told me how to ride this zip-line within five seconds while he clipped me onto the steel cable and pushed me off the platform. The tops of the trees flew by my feet and after the shock wore off I realized that I was flying. Warm moist air flowed through my hair forcing my smile bigger than I thought possible. I was approaching the second platform so I gradually applied pressure on the cable with my reinforced leather glove coming to a smooth stop. I looked back through the trees watching the others come down with equally exuberant looks on their faces. I looked in the other direction and 10,000 foot mountains loomed over the rain forest as exotic birds swooped and dove into the treetops. The feeling was exhilarating and for the next two hours I rode 500 to 1000 foot zip-lines over the canopy of the rain forest without any thoughts of Shaq or Jose Canseco on my mind.