Chapter 1: The Quest for Pura Vida

Images of Volcán Arenal and La Fortuna

This is a draft I found from October 2, 2013.  There are different parts of Costa Rica that captured my imagination in different ways, some of them in ways that I still don’t know how to communicate.  I’m going to publish this as I wrote it, even though it’s not really written logically, because I feel like it’s a story I want to tell that’s still in its infancy.
Not long after I made this trip nearly two years ago, we did an exercise in my creative writing class in which we had to write an espeluznante story.  Now, I’m not a fan of scary stories in any way; I hate reading/watching them, and I’m definitely not going to go so deep as to write them.  However, it was an assignment, and somehow I ended up with something that involved uncontrollable natural forces and unidentified entities pulling the protagonist deeper into a lake in the middle of a volcano.  As touristy as La Fortuna is, there’s something primal in the experience of climbing a dead volcano that I couldn’t quite grasp.
So I’m going to throw this out there–I’m not sure why.  Maybe to preserve an image of an ingredient that’s been thrown into the stewing pot of my imagination.  I think I had the intention of writing more scenes, but whatever I wanted to write is lost now.  Ironically, neither of the places mentioned in the title are mentioned in the post; it’s all from Cerro Chato, which is what we hiked.  La Fortuna is the town, and Volcán Arenal is the live volcano that you’re not allowed to hike.  I guess this post is less about the place and more about how experiences start to generate stories.
Also, rereading this makes me kinda sad because I’m homesick for the unfamiliar.

I don’t remember my trip to La Fortuna this past weekend as a story, so I don’t really expect to be able to tell it like one.  My mind captured the trip as moments and images without an order.

Here’s the background information you need to know.  Early Friday morning, five friends and I took a five hour bus trip to La Fortuna, a tourist town in the northern part of Costa Rica.  The town is right next to a national park that contains Volcán Arenal, an active volcano, and Cerro Chato, a dormant volcano.  We only had a full day and two halves, which were mostly consumed by hiking.  I took quite a few photos, but the most vivid moments can’t be captured on camera.

–I miscalculate a step going down the mountain and slide a couple of meters on my feet, hands grasping at anything to check my fall.  My body turns into a starburst of panic, but I manage to grab a sapling with both hands just before I lose my balance completely.–

–I look up at the canopy of leaves completely covering the sky.  The vivid leaves overlap to make a thousand different shades of green.  A solitary yellow leaf stands out in the unbroken canvas of green light.–

–I float on my back in the exact middle of a green lake in the crater of a dormant volcano.  My hair floats around my head and my arms make lazy circles to keep me afloat.  With my ears underwater and my eyes closed, I lose all sense of direction in the weightlessness of the water, with only the sun on my face to anchor me to the real world.  I have no idea how deep the water is or what kind of monsters dwell in the crater of a volcano, but in this state, I can imagine dragons and dryads swirling through a green city.–


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