What happened to my howler wakeup call?

(To read El Gringo Feo’s Costa Rica Diary from the beginning, start here.)

Tuesday, August 21

A coatimundi makes his way past the Treehouse while foraging for food.
A coatimundi makes his way past the Treehouse while foraging for food.

For the second morning in a row, there was no howler monkey party outside my window as day broke. Yesterday, I was sleep-deprived and thankful for the relative silence. But today I miss the little buggers. I’m not even hearing them in the distance. They must have moved on in search of food. I suspect they cycle through a wide territory …

I thought I caught a quick glimpse of a white-faced capuchin monkey, but upon further review I’m pretty sure it was actually a coatimundi. Later, as I was reading Poilu on the deck of the Treehouse, a band of them showed up, leading me to believe my earlier capuchin sighting was more wishful thinking that actual fact. The coatimundi does have a vaguely monkey tail, and one of them ventured close enough to me for a photo opportunity (see above). He was casually foraging for tasty fruits, much of which gets tossed down from birds who take a single bite and move on. Sydney, our umbrella cockatoo, behaves in this manner. It’s a very efficient way for nature to scatter seeds …

As I write, a rain of fruit is falling around me, some of it clanging off the metal roof, as the jungle birds eat breakfast with little regard for the mess they’re making.

Remember that smack I was talking about the dearth of mosquitos here?

Not so fast. One of Jeff’s friends warned me there are biting bugs on the beach, and they’re very stealth. You don’t realize you’ve been assaulted until it’s too late.

There are some here at PurUvita, too, though it’s still not as bad as my front porch in Ohio. Regardless, I’ve reconciled with Deet, at least in some circumstances.

I spent yesterday morning watching boats full of tourists head out toward the Whale’s Tail at high tide, presumably on their way to watch the whales. From my perch atop PurUvita, they looked like tiny waterbugs, discernible primarily through their wakes. Is that a rogue wave? No. It’s attached to that little dot, er boat, pushing out into the Pacific. Another item for my to-do list.

Strange, delicate little wasp-type insects were ducking in and out of a tubular hive in one of the logs that forms a supporting timber for the shack. They chose a knot in the wood to insert their nest. I assume they’ve burrowed into the wood. They don’t appear to be aggressive and were unperturbed when I came close to shoot a short video. I haven’t had time to ID them yet. There’s so much here that I don’t know. It’s humbling and invigorating.

I received a text yesterday from Lara telling me her father is going into hospice. I think she has mixed emotions. It’s obviously distressing to know your father is about to die. But there’s also a sense of relief. He was a difficult guy before dementia twisted his brain. It got worse from there, muddling him and prompting him to see schemes and conspiracies everywhere. But Lara said Daddy has taken a turn toward sweetness with the news. Perhaps he’s ready. Or perhaps it’s like that Flannery O’Connor Story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, one of my favorite O’Connor stories. After an escaped convict, the Misfit, encounters and then kills a sinful Christian grandmother, he says, “she would have been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” I always took that to be O’Connor saying some people need that immediate threat of extermination every day to truly see the light and find grace. Or as Ray Wylie Hubbard sang in Conversation with the Devil:

Some get spiritual, ’cause they see the light

And some, ’cause they feel the heat

Though my favorite stanza from that song is:

Now I said, “I’ve made some mistakes, but I’m not as bad as those guys

How can God do this to me or can’t He sympathize

He said, “You’re wrong about God being cruel and mean

Oh, God is the most loving thing that’s never been seen”

I said, “Hotshot tell me this which religion is the truest”

He said, “There all about the same

Buddha was not a Christian, but Jesus woulda made a good Buddhist”

The day closed, again, atop the hill, watching a delicious grenadine sunset sprawl across the sea, capped by banks of clouds. The humidity was palpable, and then a light rain fell as the light faded. No photo. Impossible to capture … so I’ll leave you with Ray Wylie.