After a splendid run near the Arenal Volcano I had several great runs at our next destination in Mal Pais; all on the beach with running shoes and shorts. You could cover a lot more ground when the tide was out; running on flat hard packed sand. I was spoiled with my first couple runs being with the tide out, allowing me to cover longer distances. My next four runs all happened at high tide and that forced me to trudge through the soft dry sand. It was slow going and made for a low impact strength workout.
But what stands out for our time at Mal Pais is all the surfing. Most days we surfed twice a day starting anywhere from 7 to 9am and playing in the waves for hours. Even early in the morning the day’s heat made a refreshing yearning for the water. Lathered up in suntan lotion we would battle through the surf in an effort to reach the gentle giants beckoning us to come out. The gentle giants could almost always be seen gathering momentum, darkening the water as they approached. A rush of adrenalin spikes through the system. Paddling into position, the peaceful, calming, power of these giants had to be respected. Almost everyday, sometimes several times a day a wave would humble me; reminding me of its imposing might. Others, I would seize just right, transferring its energy into graceful, pleasurable momentum. At least, it felt this way and explains my unyielding need to spend endless hours playing in the surf. It is an activity that always keeps me coming back for more.
Eventually, we became tired and hungry; making lunch impossible to deny. The lunch break was a welcome reprieve from the hot sun and replenished the body for more surfing after a relaxing afternoon.
The truly majestic time to surf was near sunset when the day’s inspiration came to a climatic end. The blinding sun would yield to the perfect ambient lighting, the sky on fire with vibrancy that drew the eyes attention. The colors formed wonderful hues of beautiful inspiration. Looking back towards the beach from the water one would notice all the flashes going off from camera’s motivated owners. While out there surfing, waiting for the next perfect wave, the water and air temperature luxurious with a sky reassuringly delightful; one couldn’t help but be thankful for the precious moment. The sun would move quickly hovering just above, what looked like to the ancients, like the end of the world. Looking for the flawless wave would take a back seat to the astounding display of colors while the sun began diving under the water. The sun spiraling towards the ocean would morph through different shades of orange, red, pink and violet with its overwhelming brilliance turning into a pleasant glow. Your eyes couldn’t help but linger on the last glimpse of luminosity before disappearing and surrendering to the night’s stars.
With the sun’s remarkable display all but finished and the light melting away your attention turned back to finding that next wave, visualizing it appearing before you and using its energy for the most pleasurable of passages. Ultimately, it would come and you’d zip across the water’s surface. With darkness quickly approaching you always want to finish with that perfect ride; which always seems to be the next wave. Often, all the surfers would disperse leaving me alone in the mighty Pacific, darkness cloaking me in the immense expanse before me. I would settle for the next wave and the less than perfect ride, yet nourishing all the same.
Later that night after filling my belly with Costa Rican food I would fall asleep dreaming of the Pacific, hearing its waves crashing near-by and wonder; how far out in the blue abyss is my first wave for tomorrow’s play.