Wednesday, July 01, 2009

happy canada day


Where did I go?
What did I do?
Rafting in Costa Rica.

I have hundreds of photos...
. Lots of tree frogs in blue and red.
. Birds of every description.
. Perfect curves of nearly deserted Pacific beaches.
. Surf as sweet as Hawaii.
. Dozens of new beans and rice dishes.
. Friendly locals on the party bus that takes you up above Jaco and buries you in beer.
. Amiable Ticos and the world's best coffee.
. Moody volcanos and zip lines thru the trees.
. Crocs and holwer monkeys and spoonbills in the trees, as pink as a baby's butt.
. Magic landscapes as only nature can design them.
... but alas, no picture of the baby ant eater.
(It moved too fast for me to stop being slack-jawed.)

I still dream green.

But what haunts me still is the overnight raft trip down the Rio Pacuare.
One of the world's five last great wild rivers.

Beyond magic.
Beyond words.
Midnight: just stars, darkness and the whisper of water.
Yes, I had fun.
That is where I've been.
Happy Canada Day.

night lava, volcan arenal

Costa Rica pictures

rio pacuare

sunset up above jaco

sleeping capuchin monkeys

playa hermosa

rio pacuare

manuel antonio

chestnut-mandible toucan

happy crocs

Volcan Arenal at dawn

Costa Rica postscript

After conversing with Costa Rica's scarlet macaws, I returned to find a reader desperate for a copy of a performance piece originally written for Bruno Gerussi's seminal CBC Radio show in the 1970s.
Yes, this was just before Bruno became a TV beachcomber.
Seven Days appears in multiple anthologies and my own column collections.
Why not here?

(appears below)

Seven days

in the beginning,
man created the mudhole and the marsh
damming streams for viaducts
and routing waters for his own benefit
waters, white as crystal, rushed through trenches
trickled through makeshift reed piping
splashed clean into clay bowls
bubbling to do man's bidding

and it was the morning and the evening of the first day
and the seagulls were dying

on the second day, man created the slaughterhouse and the zoo
and the wild animals of the earth
which wandered at will across the planet
instead watched man from behind wire mesh
scruffy lions with sad faces
and elephants, their bottoms calloused from sitting on cement

and it was the morning and the evening of the second day
and the seagulls were dying

on the third day, the buffalo disappeared.
simply disappeared.
and across the pampas
safaris, $1195 per person, sought out exotic creatures
to mount in rec rooms or multiply in cages
and the ice floes ran red
jungle monkeys reeled in terror
antelope, gazelle, deer
stared back thru every rifle's sights

it was the morning and the evening of the third day
and the seagulls were dying

on the fourth day, man created the sewer and sump
and pumps to pipe sewer to sump and sump to sewer
at incredible cost
to nose and pocket.
and the pumps pumped
and the sumps drained
and the sewers flowed
into creeks and lakes
and every drop of sewage makes
an ocean spread across the world
the promised universal apocalypse

and it was the morning and the evening of the fourth day
and the seagulls were dying

on the fifth day, man crated and canned atomic wastes
and made up the word megaton
packing lethal wastes in rusty old drums and concrete caissons
cramming biological uglies into old train tank cars
that ran on undetermined schedules
across the landscape
somewhere, sunken tanks of arsenic are cloaked in barnacles
rust slowly in salt water
and now and then, on october afternoons
underground explosions occur
but smiling spokesman describe them as necessary and safe
as desert floors collapse and islands tremble.
the smiling spokesman swears
the san andreas fault
remains faultless

and it is the morning and the evening of the fifth day
and the seagulls are dying

on the sixth day, man created the additive
which differed in name, but never in purpose
and was gleefully installed in cereals and fertilizers
soft drinks and cookies
field and bug sprays
creams and cosmetics
it was added to everything man ate or drank
but scrubbed from smokestacks
and sewage
and lakes
and eventually,
even the additives had additives
and counter-antidotes to combat the counter-pollutants.
even the experts gave up explaining
exactly what the additives were to accomplish

and it was the morning and the evening of the sixth day
and the seagulls were dying

on the seventh day, there was quiet over all the earth
except for the lapping of waves
and the bubbling of storm drains
and the seagulls were dying
the plankton
the oceans
the atmosphere
the trees were dying

and man