Here in New York, the evening sky glows lavender with the promise of snow. Blue and white, red and green, and rainbow themes flicker to life to light your commute home.
In or out of your car, strains of Christmas carols travel with you; among those classics, "Silent Night" is on refrain.
Or maybe, it's only that I notice this song more since my visit to Costa Rica. But it's not for the first line. It's for the final one.
"Sleep in heavenly peace," coos voices from rich to sweet. And each time I hear it now, I think of the time when I literally did: at Peace Lodge in La Paz Waterfall Gardens, where visitors were up in the clouds and overlooking the world below.
At daybreak, the sun would rise over the mountaintops, its face beaming over a "green season" landscape so verdant, the fresh air and altitude leaves you slightly breathless. With hot locally grown coffee in hand, clouds would begin to roll in slowly as the morning progressed, an encroaching mist reaching shy fingers out toward us as we rocked in our chair or hammock on the balcony.
By midday, we'd be wrapped in the cloud forest like a chiffon scarf-cool and light on our skin. This scarf would tear open in short, targeted bursts through the afternoon, releasing rain like so many strands of thread, scattering its remnants to the breeze as cliques of hummingbirds zipped to the balcony feeder to snack through and escape it.
We, on the other hand, took these twilit hours as the perfect opportunity to escape ourselves, to a mountaintop grotto where the water was hot and the views were panoramic or to become acquainted with the rescued ocelots, the resident sloths, the milk cows or the oxen that live in the sanctuary.
Shy frogs and bold butterflies had their own houses for those who wanted to pay them a visit-all guests were welcome free of charge.
But before the rain touched down, there were trails to hike; waterfalls to gape at; hummingbird gardens to sit in; pools to swim across; and easy day trips to hot springs, ziplines, rivers, riding stables and other like adventure tours to take.
So by the time the sun went down and the gauzy cloud forest we were staying in rent apart to release the fresh water it'd been collecting for us, it was perfect-a nature-mandated break from the ecotouristic excitement of the pura vida.
It was a reminder that even in the middle of a rainforest, a river-rock fireplace can provide comfort; That leisurely dinners can be the ideal "nightlife" activity; That a slow bath in your private greenhouse or a soak in a rustic tub on your balcony might be the best way to enjoy a wet day.
And the best sleeps are had with the sound of rain pattering on the roof and thunder rumbling the earthen walls around you as you're nestled soundly, your head as high up in the clouds as it is firmly on your pillow.
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