Day 1: After dinner, the rain had stopped and it was now pitch black outside, but the wind coming off the ocean made it feel cooler. The refreshing breeze helped me recollect the day’s highlights: Over a million native hardwood trees have been planted here since my father, my brother and I had been camping on this property a decade earlier; some of the guys I remember from then are now working as naturalist guides or kitchen staff; the organic farm is much more extensive, and hundreds of guests have come and gone from their bungalows.
The mind and breeze’s sweeps finished, and now reading, I heard crunching from the corner. At first I didn’t quite register it, and continued reading. When it continued, the interruption made me curious. I slowly stood and leaned around the large wooden column that was blocking my view of the corner in question.
The adolescent opossum and I both froze. It was about the size of a squirrel, and it had a Halloween crab dangling from its mouth. When it looked away I decided that it either couldn’t see me very well or didn’t see me as a threat, so I slowly inched my hand towards the camera that lay on the table up against my knees. Silently cursing the camera’s malfunctions that prevented me from being able to change any settings, including zoom, I turned and took a snapshot. The flash didn’t startle it, so testing my luck further I very slowly stepped over the table and around the column. About six feet away the opossum snapped out of the trance, and ran off with the crab. By chance it ran in a direction where it would have to climb a few steps, slowing it just enough to allow me a last photo as it hurried off.
Day 2: As a slight drizzle fell through the trees, we sat on wooden benches fixed in the back of a pickup truck on the way to the finca from the lodge. The finca is essentially a farm, of trees and livestock, that is connected to Morgan’s Rock and provides much of its food and maintenance services. After a few minutes it started raining hard, but neither I nor the two guests, a man and woman from Atlanta, minded getting wet after having endured the heat of the past couple days. Bismar, our guide, handed me his radio and cell phone to pass through the rear window to our driver, and I gave up my borrowed camera as well. Just as one of the guests was pulling on her travel poncho, which looked like a translucent red trash bag, Bismar called for a stop. Pointing, he said simply, “sloth,” and we looked up to watch a drenched and sorry-looking two-toed sloth inch its way from one branch to another, fur plastered to its body and spiking up on its head. “They sleep 14 hours a day,” said Bismar, “and only poop once a week.” I added that when they did relieve themselves, they had to do so on the ground. “If I had to climb down my tree every time, I’d probably only do it once a week too,” joked the guest to his wife. A few minutes later we reached the reforestation site, and met the man in charge of equestrian activity, Don Jesus, and started our horseback ride on the road towards the trail. Despite the rain, the horses easily climbed the slope up to the lookout point at the top of the wooded hill.