It was still dark when we arrived, our bright rambunctious group awoke at 4 or so, and after gulping down the caffeinated beverages lovingly supplied by the hotel staff, extra early by request. We tumbled into the van and head to a different patch of sea from the one where we were staying. We head from Nosara to Ostional.
Upon arriving, we walked through the tiny town and out to the beach, silence hovering naturally over most of the group.
Under moonlight, the beach is transformed from a sparkling backdrop upon which happy humans frolic in their various ways, into a landscape of ancient memory. The watery depth of the ocean dominates the landscape, lit up by the light of a brilliant full moon. When all humans are asleep mother nature pulls out her finery and starts to dance. She reminds us where we all came from, animals arising from single cells floating in the ocean. Something ancient begins to emerge from my memory. We are part of this planet, of the life that emerges, exists and recedes, and has done so for eons more than I can ever imagine.
They begin to emerge from the sea, first one, then another than another. Soon many, flipper by flipper making their way up the beach on appendages designed to move them through water. The effort is tangible, recalling every experience of love’s labor in life. One has wonder how conscious they are of the contribution made by the trek up the sand to lay their precious eggs. The sacrifice all mothers make to perpetuate the species of which they are members. The pain, the struggle, the effort.
The love, immense and infinite, embodied in this task of birthing and mothering.
I am there with a group of mothers, one of the few in the group never to have participated in the ritual of giving birth.
After clambering way way up on the beach, the digging begins. flippers moving quickly, spurts of effort punctuated by pauses for rest. We are told by the guide that the mothers dig two holes, the first being a decoy for the one she buries the real eggs in. The nests are surrounded by vultures, waiting to prey on the tender treasures. But still these divine mothers plug on in their task. The eggs are laid in the nests and covered over.
One by one, then they begin to recede to the ocean. The exhaustion readily apparent as flipper by flipper they drag their heavy bodies back to the sea. More than one of the clearly older turtles pauses numerous times to rest. At this point the group turns to watch…captivated. I know I begin to silently cheer them on. Go!! Go!!! A few are missing flippers, making the task all that much more arduous. Relief ripples through the group as each one catches a wave and heads back to her watery home. These women I am with and our resonance with the turtle mothers awakens this memory of the shared experience of women all over the planet, those thousands of labors of love that are just part of our lives, but keep the life of the planet going. That keep life going.
As one of our newly discovered sisters raises her head above the water as she catches a wave, Julia, one of the mothers in the group calls out…”Give us a little wave, will ya?”. And yes she does, flipper emerging from the surface of the sea in a gesture of farewell.
The people come, bags in hand, scooping up the eggs before many of the vultures have had a chance to have their snack. We have mixed feelings, watching this happen. Apparently this quick collection of the eggs, which are part of a group that are unlikely to survive, is part of a larger conservation effort. An effort made by humans to preserve the precious species that keep us anchored in the sea of life that all species come from, including ourselves.
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