The Riches Of Nature

e rich beauty of the world is all around us! It’s constantly present in the places we go. The stunning features of nature are capable of taking the breath away from even the hardest of men. Three years ago, in the jungles of a nation new and foreign to me, I experienced such beauty in the most peculiar of ways. At such a young age, many kids can only dream of going to a place so far away and exotic as Costa Rica. Fortunately, for me and my family such a dream managed to wind its way into our lives. In the early summer of 2011, my family and I boarded a plane to this jungle paradise. We spent a full week there, a time full of stunning culture, joyous events, and kind hearted locals! A time where soaring through the jungle, and winding down exotic rapids was possible, and you could stop and breathe, and appreciate one of the most intricate works of art known to man. The nature that surrounds us!

At approximately 8:30 A.M. My family and I boarded a small Jeep from our local hotel in Santa Cruz, driven by a merry local by the name of Dan. We traveled for nearly two hours on the dirt-paved roads of Costa Rica, eventually arriving at our destination, a small collection of stone-mortared huts at the opening of the jungle. Filled with the kind of excitement only Christmas morning can bring, my brothers and I exited the Jeep, careful not to stray too far from our parents’ sight. For ten agonizing minutes, me and my siblings waited as all was prepared for our adventure ahead, Then before we knew it, we were trekking down the jungle’s path. Engulfed by the rainforest, we traveled upwards, experiencing first hand the beauty and dangers of the atmosphere around us. In just a few minutes, a wider assortment of life than I think I have ever seen flashed before my eyes, turquoise beetles, colossal termite mounds, howling gibbons, and even flaunting exotic birds zoomed through the trees around us! Finishing our trek, we arrived at the top of the mountain. By that time I was now aware it was time to confront my fear. The pudgy chocolate faced local instructing us raised his fluffy caterpillar eyebrows and said with a deep smile on his face “Now which one of you wants to go first?” Determined to prove my courage, I slowly raised my hand.

Before I knew it, my heart started beating a thousand times per second, and with a gentle push, I cascaded into the dark green canopy below. As i Disappeared under the leaves I convinced myself to look down, when I did, I saw an image I can only describe as straight out of heaven. The undisturbed rainforest laid before me. Untouched by man, the wildlife below seemed to live in perfect harmony. The very image brought a great lasting smile to my face. Soon after I finished, my family followed. I sat there and laughed as an array of screams echoed through the jungle valley. We were guided through the forest for what seemed like hours, zipping through the trees. We witnessed the nonstop beauty of the forest’s valley. We ended our ziplining journey with a boom, each of us sliding backwards on what seemed to be the largest cable of them all to the bottom of the valley. With that journey alone, I would have been satisfied for days to come, but fortunately for us there at the bottom of the valley, laid six rafts prepared and dying for the journey ahead.

In a deep spanish accent, the local in charge of my raft asked “Have you ever been rafting down these rapids before?” Admitting to him that I’d never held a paddle before in my life, he responded with a simple laugh. Teaching me the basics, we made our way through the gentler parts of the rapids. I ran my hand through the water and felt its surprising warmth. As I gazed at the water, my attention was drawn to the tiny fish swimming below us. “If these fish can do it, then why can’t I?” I thought to myself, filling myself with courage for the rougher parts to come. Paddle in hand, my instructor maneuvered us through perhaps the roughest parts of the rapids. I watched in awe as our simple rafts weaved through the sharp rocks like they were on a predestined course. For several minutes, we worked ourselves through the rapids, eventually coming to a gentle release in an open pool. That was there where we ended our journey for the day. It was also there where I looked around, spotted the canopy above and thought to myself, “Life can’t get much better than this.” And I was right- with the company around me I was in the simplest form of paradise right there at the end of the river.

We dispersed from the water at the end of the day, tired and worn from the journey we had just partaken in, but greatly changed from the things we had seen that day. We left Costa Rica just days after our expedition in the rainforest. Looking back on the trip I believe that the beauty of nature was never so present as it was in that small patch of paradise. I have a deeper appreciation for nature and the overflowing beauty around us after that day. I now realize that there will always be beautiful things in this world, you just have seek them out in the places you go each and every day.

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