A long walk on an uninterrupted beach is like entering a stream of dreams.
You don’t know what you will see along the way or where your thoughts will take you.
Walking the stunning Costa Rican tropical beaches along the Caribbean coast south of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Manzanillo leads you past rustic vendor huts, monkeys in swaying coconut palms, tiny villages, deserted coves, and long stretches of sand with only the sound of the waves to stimulate your thoughts.
For a photographer the different times of the day are important for the changes in lighting. But your moods and dreams are also influenced by the phases of the day. Photographers are always looking for dreams.
Early morning light creates far-reaching but ill-defined dreams. Distant shores and vague but dangerous adventures emerge in the images in your mind. Sailing ships, pirates, tramp steamers, tropical land grabs, corrupt officials, empires built on bananas-tea-pineapples-coffee, jungle exploration, indigenous people struggling against invading imperialists and grappling with family and religious traditions, travelers seeking authenticity, missionaries…changes sweeping over the beaches and reaching deep into mountainous jungles.
The hiss of the waves moves with you as you walk on mile after mile. Monkeys in the jungle, birds calling, heat building….
The brightening morning sun creates a sandy paradise around you. Dreams of play and beauty float through your thoughts. Children laughing, adults feeling vitality, some in the sun, others finding shade at the edge of the jungle, life’s many stages all reveling in the warm joy. Your dreamlike walk eventually seeks solitude-a secret cove.
You clamber down through the jungle to a deserted cove. Sitting alone you dream of being ship-wrecked. Could you build a shelter, find fresh water and food? You are drawn to the end of the beach. What dreams are around the rocky point?
If you time the waves right you can stay on the rocky ledge and enter a new beach. But this beach has an end. After feeling like you could walk forever down this series of coves and points, steep slopes covered with dense jungle vegetation close your path.
You have left the small villages and beachcombers behind. Your dreams are of the primordial world. This feeling of isolation is strong. Although the modern world is close at hand, you can feel like an explorer. Given your dreams, what would you do with this beautiful tropical world? What if your footprints were the first ones? Your dreams have no bounds now.
Exquisite hours pass as your dreams roam to the horizon. Finally, the day has advanced toward evening. Your explorer dreams are giving way to hunger. It is time to find a soda (café) in Manzanillo and get a late lunch. As you walk back it is hot and you are getting tired. You have seen so much. Have your beach dreams created a new, rejuvenated you?