I’ve been in Costa Rica a little over a week now. There are a few purposes underlying the transmission of myself into a world such as this. The first is to determine whether Art production of the kind I am up to is possible here, i.e.: The availability of materials, ease of acquisition of materials, facilities, humidity affecting drying times, etc. The second is to discover whether many of the materials I use could be swapped out for organic pigments, natural resins, dyes, etc. from local trees plants, deposits, etc. The third is whether there is a market for my work here, to expand into an international arena and to see if the type of pattern based bas relief art I’m making has relevance to the mindsets of consumers either living here or on vacation. We’ll see.
I’ve found most of my materials already, in San Jose. There is a large Home Depot style hardware store called EPA (Pic below)
where the only thing lacking was a prevalence of oil based paint, solvents, linseed oil, Japan Dryer, etc. So a specialty paint store will be the next thing to look into.
Another reason to be here is to get out of the frigid nightmare of Salt Lake City which my body loathes. Once I arrived I immediately sensed a shift in my general mood. The sun and warmth and humidity opens the pores and flow occurs, toxins in the skin flush away, and your body can be a system again with continuous throughput of fluids. So health issues were a big motivation to get out of dodge. The tropical food is fresh, delicious, and shifted toward the fruits and vegetables, all of which are cleansing, anti-oxidant and pesticide and fertilizer free. Full of nutrition. So I am eating a 95% vegetarian diet at the moment and enjoying watching the fat melt away as I make a run every other day to Mastatal town 2.7 miles away.
In the morning I am digging with a campesino named Solin, swales in a hillside, hard work,. to make soil restoration occur, slow water down and transform the leached clay soils into nutrient rich zones for new plant possibilities. At the moment the soils are depleted and need a lot of repair. This is a common reality in tropical soils stripped of their hardwoods, cleared by slash and burn methods, for corn and papaya and for so few successive years of productivity. What we are doing is a fundamental tool in permaculture to replenish the soil. I’ll help with planting and general design as time permits.
As for other projects I am engaged in, there are a few. This property is situated on a steep slope with deeply cut ravines leading down into a riparian zone of black metamorphic rock, a river channel deeply buried beneath 150 foot tall hardwood trees covered by epiphytes and vines, lush and cool even during the day. This is the spot at the bottom of the property (which is 25 acres) where in the afternoon it is pure heaven to cool off under a waterfall and swim in a pool of crystal clear water.
I’m also extending the porch to solve an erosion problem at the drip-line from heavy rains spilling off the roof. This water will be directed into a channel in the center of the new stretch, running the length of the porch, with a swiss cheese pipe buried in gravel, framed by river rocks I already got on a trip to a local river.
Next will be the gray water system integration with the porch extension runoff. All water from the Kitchen, shower, washing machine, utility sink and porch runoff will be directed into a wetland for processing by taro and watercress among other wetland plants. Overflow during rainy season will flow off into a hillside graywater pit already dug. After the wetland, a trench filled with gravel , then smaller gravel, then sand will filter the water. Adjacent to the filtration station, a ferro-cement tank 10 feet in diameter filled with tilapia hatchlings will connect to an intermediate tank. This connects the first Tilapia tank with a second Tilapia tank, also of ferro-cement, 10′ in diameter. The second tank will be for the big Tilapia, ready to harvest. When it’s time to harvest, you chum the intermediate tank, open a gate in the second tank, net push the Tilapia into the intermediate tank, close the gate, then drain the intermediate tank. Tilapia caught without effort. Of course, this idea is throry only, but my idea for this system has been given the green light so, a little more research and I’ll be building it.
Also on the list is to build a fountain next to the house. This I will also build out of Ferro-cement. Ideas for it’s look and feel are being drawn up. Here are some of them:
(PICS TO COME)
So, I’ve got my hands full with really exciting projects. I’ll keep posting pics as they develop.
Here’s the log for the days I’ve been here.
March 6 – Flight
March 7 Arrival at 6 am Bus trip to Puriscal. Taxi from Puriscal to Mastatal meeting with Robbie and Kimmy
March 8 Tuesday – Swales – Walk to Mastatal and back
March 9th Wednesday -Swales / Iguana tour
March 10 Thursday – Chill day
March 11 Friday – Swales -Joel visits – Bar Mastatal
March 12 Saturday – Photo session – planning/idea development for Choza with Robbie
March 13 Sunday – Trip to the beach – Jaco / Playa Hermosa
March 14 Monday – Painting Gate roof / planning session for tilapia ponds –
March 15 Tuesday – trip to Puriscal – Hardware store – art supplies. Trip to Ark
March 16th Wednesday – Excavation of patio extensions – art setup
March 17th Thursday – Excavation continued – Art begins
March 18th Friday– Stone laid in patio extensions
March 19thSaturday – stone laid, Joel brings fixed fridge and my panels/doors.
March 20th – off
March 21 – Monday – Moved soil, Joel comeswith Doors. Drive to Zapotan, Got a soda, some Popsicles which I left there in the freezer. Need to go get them. Then Joel and I drive to Mastatal. Beers, conversation. Talk about Art production and procuring a warehouse. Looked for Miguel at Rancho Mastatal, then hiked back for exercise. Sweat like crazy. Annie shows up on the bus. Annie, Kimmy, Katie chat it up over dinner and build a fire. More talking. I retreat from conversation which I am not involved in and play solitaire on the computer for 3 hours and listen to music on headphones in my room.
March 22 – Tuesday – woke up at 7 am. Talked with Annie a bit regarding the patio extension and some other improvements. Cut Doors down. Plan a pattern. Draw it up on a panel. Begin production.
Here we go again, another massive life shift. Break through the protective shell and move me toward eruptions of new consciousnesses. Inspirational NATURE seething and swirling in pillars of emergent expresssion of intention. I’m about to get on a plane for Costa Rica.
In view of all the change and transition in the recent months for me, I call for the courage to follow through with this move toward solitude and what may in the end be more like a visit to a monastery, yearned for many months running.
And on that note I want to post my favorite passage from Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche:
Is it your wish, my brother, to go into solitude? Is it your wish to seek the way to yourself? Then linger a moment, and listen to me.
“He who seeks, easily gets lost. All loneliness is guilt” – the speaks the herd. And you have long belonged to the herd. The voice of the herd will still be audible in you. And when you will say, “I no longer have a common conscience with you,” it will be a lament and an agony. Behold, this agony itself was born of the common conscience, and the last glimmer of that conscience still glows on your affliction.
But do you want to go the way of your affliction, which is the way to yourself? Then show me your right and your strength to do so. Are you a new strength and a new right? A first movement? A self-propelled wheel? Can you compel the very stars to revolve around you?
Alas, there is so much lusting for the heights! There are so many convulsions of the ambitious. Show me that you are not one of the lustful and ambitious.
Alas, there are so many great thoughts which do no more than a bellows: they puff up and make emptier.
You call yourself free? Your dominant thought I want to hear, and not that you have escaped from a yoke. Are you one of those who had the right to escape from a yoke? there are some who threw away their last value when they threw away their servitude.
Free from what? As if that mattered to Zarathustra! But your eyes should tell me brightly: free for what?
Can you give yourself your own evil and your own good and hang your own will over yourself as law? Can you be your own judge and avenger of your law? Terrible it is to be alone with the judge and avenger of one’s own law. Thus is a star thrown out into the void and into the icy breath of solitude. Today you are still suffering from the many, being one: today your courage and your hopes are still whole. But the time will come when solitude will make you weary, when your pride will double up and your courage gnash its teeth. And you will cry, “I am alone!” The time will come when that which seems high to you will no longer be in sight, and that which seems low will be all-too-near; even what seems sublime to you will frighten you like a ghost. And you will cry, “All is false!”
There are feelings which want to kill the lonely; and if they do not succeed, well, then they themselves must die. but are you capable of this – to be a murderer?
My brother, do you know the word “contempt” yet? And the agony of your justice – being just to those who despise you? You force many to relearn about you; they charge it bitterly against you. You came close to them and yet passed by: that they will never forgive. You pass over and beyond them: but the higher you ascend, the smaller you appear to the eye of envy. But most of all they hate those who fly.
“How would you be just to me?” you must say. “I choose your injustice as my proper lot.” Injustice and filth they throw after the lonely one: but, my brother, if you would be a star, you must not shine less for them because of that.
And beware of the good and the just! They like to crucify those who invent their own virtue for themselves – they hate the lonely one. Beware also of the holy simplicity! Everything that is not simple it considers unholy; it also likes to play with fire – the stake. And beware also of the attacks of your love! The lonely one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters. To some people you may not give your hand, only a paw: and I desire that your paw should also have claws.
But the worst enemy you can encounter will always be you, yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caves and woods.
Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself. And your way leads past yourself and your seven devils. You will be a heretic to yourself and a witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and a villain. You must wish to consume yourself in your own flame: how could you wish to become new unless you had first become ashes!
Lonely one, you are going the way of the creator: you would create a god for yourself out of your seven devils.
Lonely one, you are going the way of the lover: yourself you love, and therefore you despise yourself, as only lovers despise. The lover would create because he despises. What does he know of love who did not have to despise precisely what he loved!
Go into your loneliness with your love and with your creation, my brother; and only much later will justice limp after you.
With my tears go into your loneliness, my brother. I love him who wants to create over and beyond himself and thus perishes.
This spoke Zarathustra.