Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bijagual Ecological Reserve

Bijagual Ecological Reserve was the first stop on our Costa Rica trip with Xavier students this year.  The reserve contains 720 acres of gorgeous rainforest and every time I visit I am overwhelmed by the fact that this land is teeming with life.  Literally everywhere you go you are surrounded by plants, animals, growth, decay, life, death and rain (and lots of it!).   And every time I go I am in awe of the crazy forms that life can take...many of which you could not imagine in your wildest dreams.  

The tree below is a great example.  I believe Paul (director of Bijagual) told me this tree was of the genus Euterpe.  When I googled that genus I discovered Euterpe was the Muse of Music in Greek Mythology.  She was the daugher of Zeus and Mnemosyne, she played the flute, and her name means "giver of much delight."  I suppose these roots could be likened to a flute.  And their amazing orange color and tube-like shape definitely brought me delight.  So I must concur on the name.

I also love the repetitious form of this bromeliad fruiting body.  It reminds me of a green firework ready to burst open shooting towards the sky.

I know I already posted last week about the Erythrina seed pod below, but as long as we are talking about the weird, wild and wonderful plants of Costa Rica I had to include a photo.  I also learned that the seed pod is not the main attraction of this plant.  Apparently the genus is know for its stunning red/orange flowers and the common name is coral tree.  The genus has mystical roots as it as been suggested that it was grown in Indra's garden (Hinduism), in the "land of bliss" (Tibetan Buddhism), and was one of the Five Trees of Paradise (Christian Gnosticism) (Wikipeida).

And last, but certainly not least, I had to include a cecropia leaf.  They are one of my favorite leaf shapes in Costa Rica.  I am usually obsessed with how they look when they land on the ground and start to dry (see past post here), but this particular leaf caught my eye because of its amazing color.

I would also be remiss not to include some hiking photos in a post about Bijagual.  Christina, Scott, Vanessa and I (yes, there were two Vanessa's!) took a beautiful hike along the Quebrada Roman.  Christina did an awesome sketch of it here.

Below are the stairs down to the Bijagual waterfall.

And the reward for all those stairs is a swim below the falls.  There is something about swimming in a river below a giant waterfall in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest that makes me feel really present and alive.  As I swam closer to the falls I could really feel the power of water.  And when I looked around I could see that water is a part of every living thing.  Where there is an abundance of water, there is an abundance of life.  Water and life are synonymous here....perhaps everywhere, and as I floated in the river I realized I was quite literally surrounded and filled by water.  I realized that I am water and I am life.  Pura Vida.


Jodi Christiansen said...

Wow! What is that lizardy looking leaf at the top? I think it's my favorite leaf ever!

Nessy said...

The first photo is of a leaf in the family Melastomataceae. It was one of the families the students have to learn because it is easily characterized by its veination pattern. It does look like lizard skin!

Lori Morgan said...

Pura Vida Girlfriend!!! I love how you communicate your experiences via photos and words. Thanks for sharing!!