Notes on Practice: The Shadows of Gliding Birds

July 9, 2015 - Meghan LeBorious

My morning investigations were delayed today because I had to continue to work on a solution for how to access money. When I did get to the sea, it was later in the morning and I wondered if the beach would be overrun.

The little artwork I had created the day before, high up on a cliff, was a dim ghost of itself, having been washed away by the crashing waves of high tide. As the sun was higher, my favorite spot was not in the shade of the cliff, but was in full sun, so I moved a short way back down the beach until I found an alcove enclosed by trees and backed up to a green-covered cliff. Several bright purple and orange crabs scampered toward their holes; and I was nervous, not sure what exactly they were. They definitely looked like crabs, but they could possibly be scorpions, right? I know that they have scorpions here, too. Brightly colored animals are often poisonous—a fact I learned on a nature show at some point. I am not proud to say that I covered the many holes in the alcove before I started dancing, with the hope that I would not be ambushed. I fell in love with the site in stages, as I began to move, despite my fear of scorpions.

Writing now, inside, as the insects won the battle and I finally gave up on the balcony after dark, heavy rain is pelting the metal ceiling. Insects call out periodically. I sip from a coffee cup full of white wine that came from a local grocery store in a screw-top bottle. A little glass with a tea light candle sits next to me on a table made of varnished driftwood. I have to move carefully, as the table base is also made of driftwood; and the table is extremely imbalanced.

As I started to move my feet through the sand, I pushed several rocks and small logs to the side. A harmony repeated itself again and again, and I hummed it out loud. There was a little hill up into the alcove from the larger beach and I experimented with letting my weight rise, fall and curve on the sandy incline. At some point, I stopped humming. Words temporarily fell away. I moved with no urgency, turning back and forth between the sea, the trees, and the tall stone, green-covered cliff.

In Staccato, I stomped and jumped, hoping to scare the purple and orange creatures into staying underground. I felt pulled into Lyrical, but endeavored to stay within the frame of a 5Rhythms wave and continued in Staccato. Sharp exhalations fueled the movements, and I again experimented with the narrative journey of ocean waves, and with moving up and down the small incline. I felt connected to the trees and plants and experienced them as tender and resolute—feeling a small welling of tears even. For a few short minutes, I entered the tornado of Chaos—losing, briefly, the orientation of my body—bouncing and whirling around in the little alcove. Chirping insects and trilling birdcalls lead me to the next rhythm of Lyrical, which had been calling me all along. Stillness found me absorbing and responding to the energy of the green plants and trees around me and letting the calls of the chirping insects and birds enter into my experience fully.

For four years, I wrote a poem a day (well, almost every day!) I wrote them all in journals, on paper; and at some point I got overwhelmed with the number of them and let the practice go. I decided that while I am in Costa Rica, I would resume the poems. Here is the first:

The jungle is alive with whistles and trills.

Yesterday I danced with the circling shadow of a massive, gliding bird

The tide was lowering, else

In the same place

I would have been submerged and pummeled

By waves against the high-rock cliffs.


Nosara, Costa Rica

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