I don't remember hiking during the last Canopy Adventure tour which was seven years ago so anything is possible or even probable and by hiking I mean the half or maybe that was an entire mile hike from the drop off point to the first platform. We were warned, was that the right word? We were warned, informed, told after the truck dropped us at the end of what I always think of as a fire road but given the age, breakdown, and composite (some odd form of concrete block) I'd be more inclined to call it a logging road and given the accounting of the condition of the cloud forest or the deforestation and restoration of the cloud forest I'd be willing to bet that's maybe accurate. The cloud forest was cut back way too far for new growth cedar which was a bad idea in terms of supporting the environment locally and even globally just for the profit of lumber. It made me think of Haiti.
As we were kept on narrow, raised walkways from the edge of the cloud forest to the beginning of the first platform and then again at the base of the eighth back to the beginning of the road where the truck waited to take us back. At first I thought this was to make it easier for us but as I listened to our guide I realized it wasn't us being protected, it was the forest. The guide talked non-stop about what was happening, what they hoped to achieve over the short and long term and why. Having read and then told the story of Haiti's deforestation to Elizabeth when she was small I felt a small knot in my stomach churning and growing larger and the cloud forest started to seem more like a protected museum and it felt futile except for the condition of the guide who pushed forward believing maybe, maybe not but pushing forward anyway because to not was to let it all come crumbling down without a fight.
One of my friends asked, 'are you a botanist?'
She came up with several other possibilities.
OK, what are you?
A Business Administrator.
Why are you doing this and how do you know so much?
The forest needs saving and somebody has to do it.
He was a man in the cloud forest sporting a man bun with a tour group heading for eight zip lines of varying degrees of slope and distance.
Light bulb. Canopy Adventures is a not for profit enterprise.
No one lives on the property but the property/business collects rescue dogs of which there are anywhere from eight to fifteen at any given time before they are re-homed. I notice before we are gone that every one of them is personable and most are assertively affectionate. Someone or someones is/are doing significant work with them before they are re-homed. They run pack like through the woods following at a distance, one or two coming up close at the base of each platform. I wonder how many of these journeys they make before their time is up and decide it's not worth trying to count. I think of the sort of dogs that stick to kids like glue following them down the street on their bikes until they are either left behind or come back in the evening just off the back wheel.
In Athens there are dogs like this in the courtyard which is really something else just off the Temple of the Winds which I renamed the Temple of the Dogs which is really what it's become. I watch the dogs and think the gods have transported the same pack from the soil in Greece and dropped them down into the mountains of Costa Rica where they'll twine themselves between the legs of the men and women putting the forest right again.
The white dog has collected me. He has waited at the end of each platform and followed alongside the raised platforms. He sits under the 'desdobedience' sign and wants whatever's in my hand when I sit, specifically my coffee which is far more interesting than my water bottle earlier. I want to take him home because he reminds me of a lost dog but I think of six months in quarantine and even if that isn't true anymore the logistics would be unfair and unreasonable. Someone else will love him, he will love many other people just as well.
This is better because you can see the light on my face. What you can't see are the dogs. Sometimes the ravines were too steep or too deep to see the dogs run with the zip line but as I looked toward the platform I could seem them waiting there, sitting at the base in a pack, waiting for the next run.