"Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy - your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself." - Annie Leibovitz.
Today's gift was a lesson in the colossal forces of wind, rain, and sunlight which bring life to this marvelous ecosystem. The mighty winds of the Caribbean and Pacific collided all around me, bringing the precious gift of fresh water to all life here. Rain enveloped me and my world from above, below, and seemingly every point of the compass simultaneously. Far from being the rote meteorological phenomenon to which I am accustomed, this rainfall was a visceral, saturating presence.
I awoke to a churning fog of tiny droplets swirling around me and my tent. Surrendering to saturation, I walked through the glistening, dripping rain forest as it soaked up the precious ocean moisture. A steady drizzle from above was punctuated by rivulets from the canopy above and the gurgling of runoff beneath my feet. The forest was resplendent in dark greens in the near twilight; drops of water nestled in the mosses and clung to every leaf and shoot. From the vantage of the rare break in trees and clouds, I looked out across the valley toward the misty opposite hill. Rampaging gusts of wind drove successive torrents of rain in twisted sheets up the ravine even as the sun dappled the wet leaves around me.
At the top of the forest mountain, 1700 meters above sea level, I climbed an observation tower through the canopy, and emerged into a churning battleground of clouds. Gale force winds hurled volleys of rain in every direction, instantly soaking me, my camera, and my backpack despite my heavy poncho. I gasped and stared with amazement at this elemental fury, so common here that it has sculpted even the rain forest canopy to the shape of its whim.
As the day ended, the storm retreated up the mountain and I down it. The sun broke through, and beneath the cloud enshrouded mountaintop, with a backdrop of yet more torrents of rain, a glorious rainbow pulsed back and forth, farther and nearer.
Yes, today brought another gift from Gaia, a lesson in her power to cleanse and renew and refresh with her mighty and yet fragile rains.