What a Difference a Rain Makes

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When I left this place it was hot and dry, albeit with the occasional ominous rumble and dark sea day. Now look what’s happened; the rains have truly set in, there’s a white / grey / black / silver theme going on in the sky, and the ground is marshy and sploshy. On the rare occasions you don’t hear rain, you hear the rushing and gurgling of streams that used to be puddles and the splat of rainwater dropping from dark, glossed-up leaves, as well as branches cracking under the weight of all the sodden stuff that’s growing on them, cicadas and some chirruping from monkeys and birds.
Generally, at some point, the sun appears, turns everything into gold mist and steam, and makes me think I should go for a walk. I put on my rubber boots. I look at the blue sea; it turns black. There’s a crack of thunder that judders the house left or right or both in turn, a curtain of water is drawn over the view, lightning strikes here, there and everywhere, the sloth in a tree somewhere above the bathroom starts barking, and I go back to my book (reading, as per usual, rather than writing). A damp book. I have old friends holed up in Sarapiqui who shrink-wrap their books each rainy season. They have their own machine. Most people just place them in a glass-fronted cabinet and watch as the pages get black spot and curl at the edges.
Different flowers are out, and different fruits – new fruits, new routes. Monkeys aren’t where they used to be. And there have been changes in the bird world. At the end of the beach, I watched what looked like over one hundred pelicans, spiralling about above the bat cave – more like a murmuration of starlings than the usual tight air squadron control formation. There are wrens flying through the house, trilling, and no birds at all outside, where you would expect them to be, in the hibiscus hedge. This hedge used to be thick with all sorts of small ones, hopping about, squawking. There are, however, some very cocky grackles strutting about on the lawn, and these things may be related. I’m more used to seeing grackles (black birds that say ‘wap wap wap wap wap wap gooo-WAAAAARR’) attacking bin liners on the streets of San Jose, but, in the boat on the way here, we came across a whole gang of them hanging out in a shifty fashion in the gloom of the mangrove channels. It seems new generations of urban grackles are going rural. According to Jacob, a guide up at the hotel, they are spreading out into new territories and doing well on a diet of stolen birds’ eggs.

There’s more stuff on the floor too: I removed three small crabs and an earwig earlier, saw a long reptilian tail disappearing out of the  bedroom door this afternoon, and have just discovered quite a large crab in the toilet bowl which I am sorry to say, I didn’t feel like rescuing, and flushed.

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