Clothes Day in Matapalo
It’s in the mundane that we live, and find our solace. Our Buddhist friends see meditation in every aspect of our living (it is called Awareness—capitalized on purpose). Living in the moment is a great way to live your life, if you can; not dwelling in the past or projecting into the future. But it’s so damned hard to do.
Since moving south (south of the U.S.A.) we’ve mostly paid to have our laundry done (except for our time in Merida, Yucatan), because it’s so darn cheap to have someone else do it for you. These past two months, in Matapalo Samara, have given me the opportunity to re-experience the joy of washing my own clothes—by hand.
I do this every few days, because the heat and humidity make it a virtual necessity (if I’m going to be around others in a civilized way). I only have a few items of lightweight synthetic clothing that are suitable to this location: a bathing suit that I wear like shorts, a pair of shorts, two pairs of underwear and three lightweight safari shirts. Everything else is of slightly heavier weight and construction, and worn in the colder climes (the highlands of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica—and soon South America). Not that these heavier weight clothes are heavy at all, they’re just heavier than the paper thin clothes I am currently wearing here in Playa Samara.
Not to beat a dead horse (as they say), because you’re probably not really interested, but these Samara clothes are my low altitude clothes—great for beaches and high humidity locations (such as Cuba and the lowlands and jungles of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and now Costa Rica). Aren’t you just thrilled to know all of these interesting facts and details about my wardrobe?
When embarking upon a Round-the-World expedition, you must pack for almost any contingency (as much as possible), and then supplement your wardrobe with purchases along the way (adding and subtracting items of clothing as you go). It’s an evolutionary process. In the 3+ years we’ve been on the road we’ve experienced altitudes from sea level all the way up to 10,000 feet. We’ve experienced rainy seasons, dry seasons and every kind of in-between seasons.
Doing my laundry, a slow and methodical process by hand, all of these travel experiences come flooding back—I can see them in my stained and travel-tattered clothes. Every stain, every small tear, every missing button is a testament to this extraordinary Round-the-World travel experience we’re engaged in. Meditation is about the moment, but one can’t help but digress back in time. This is to be expected during meditation.
The key to mediation is: to not attach (cling) to, or to push away such intrusions of thought. Just to let them come and go as they will (and they will come, and they will go too, if you don’t cling to them). Washing my clothes, centering myself, and thoroughly enjoying the moment. Awareness (capital “A” allows you to fully appreciate the moment).
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler
Reporting from Matapalo Samara, Costa Rica . . .