“Is it sprinkling?” she asked.
“No, the trees are weeping,” replied our local massage therapist. “They are so thirsty they are asking the rains to come soon.”
Apparently, it worked. The rainy season started early this year. We’ve had some thunder and lightning storms worthy of Thor, himself.
Likewise, the Costa Rican national bird, the clay-colored robin, starts singing a loud wandering tune two weeks before the rains come. The robins were spot on again this year, and now they continue with their melodious call for rain (and for a mate), often starting at 4 a.m.
Before living in Costa Rica, Nancy and I assumed that the rainy season, usually from May through November, meant day after day of rain. Not so. The days usually dawn clear, with temperatures in the 70s. By late morning, it’s in the high 80s, and the sun feels brutal. Then, while we are having lunch on the veranda while the clay-colored robins pour out their song, the temperature suddenly drops, and clouds fill the sky. Soft thunder gradually rolls toward us until great booms shake the earth and the first fat drops splat on our metal roof.
The storms are thrilling, and we are both excited to experience a bit of Costa Rica’s winter or “green season” (as the travel agencies like to call it) before we leave. Bare trees are sprouting leaves, dry brown lawns are turning a lush emerald, and just today the nearby college campus sported a fresh mow job.
One warm afternoon last week, Nancy went out in the downpour to see water streaming through the maze of drainage trenches. She splashed under waterfalls sluicing off the palm trees and down our flooded driveway to the road. Just beyond the entrance to our apartment complex, two-foot-deep drains had already over-flowed, and a river was rushing down the road. A couple hours later, when we went for a walk in shorts and T-shirts, the sun was already drying the driveway.
The trees no longer make their special sound. All the weeping now takes place from the skies . . . . and from our eyes as we prepare to leave tomorrow. Nancy squeezes a last bag of Costa Rican coffee into our suitcase, and we take a final moonlit walk, our skin caressed by the tropics. We will go to bed early, knowing that the clay-colored robins will wake us at 4 a.m., plenty early to walk into the dawn of another spectacular day in Costa Rica.