In Puntarenas, Costa Rica, you can walk right off the ship, and there are excellent beaches close by, so it was a little hard to resist just spending the day swimming. However, we wanted some adventure we couldn’t experience in America, so we opted for a skywalk through the jungle canopy of the Villa Lapas Rainforest in Carara National Park. Up until that day, the weather had been gorgeous: Glassy seas, balmy blue skies, and about 82° every day. The weather forecast was for partly cloudy skies, but there was no rain predicted, so Alan and I left our umbrellas and rain gear in our room and bounced off the ship expecting another gloriously warm, wonderful, dry day. Even the tour guide agreed with our assessment of the situation, as did everybody on the tour. After a lovely drive into the countryside, we stopped at Hotel Villa Lapas for a bathroom break (since free public restrooms are pretty much nonexistent). While there, I noticed a sign listing the nearly 400 species of birds that have been sited in the greater Carara area. It was a bird-lovers paradise, and the air was filled with singing, although I really couldn’t recognize more than a few species and only got one reasonably good photo of a toucan sitting high up in a tree, where he was checking out the tourists from a safe distance.
We saw a lot of unusual things, like the nests that termites build in the trees, and some rather attractive iguanas sunning themselves on logs far, far away. There were butterflies flitting here and there, but they moved so fast among the tree tops that I never did get a single good photo.There were also reputed to be monkeys, but try as we may, we never saw one. On our “skytour” hike, we wound our way through the mountainous rainforest and across a series of hanging bridges built to span the gaps between the hills. It was a beautiful day, and we all took delight in enjoying our bird’s eye views of the vast Pacific Ocean in the distance, the mountains, and the jungle surrounding us, as well as below us! In the afternoon, the weather became very hot and humid, and clouds began gathering off in the distance, but in a rather ominous way! In just a few minutes, we could tell that things were going to get ugly! We were about exactly halfway through our hike, so there was no turning back but no easy way to get down the mountainside, either. There was nothing we could do but push on to the finish line! We tried to hurry,
but all of a sudden we were in the midst of a torrential downpour!
This is the last photo I dared to take before wrapping my camera in the folds of blouse. I leaned over so my hat became a bit of an umbrella. The path was treacherously wet and slippery, but thankfully there were some handrails at critical junctures and nobody had a bad fall. By the time we returned to the bus, we were all soaked to the skin. The guys stripped off their shirts and there was literally a stream of water running down the aisle of the bus from all the men trying to wring out their clothes. (We were parked on the mountainside). In less than an hour, the storm came and went, but we were all soaked, chilled and a little shaken by the sudden cloudburst. And…we had a river cruise to take yet! It was after dark when we finally finished our day—so late that the ship had to wait an hour past departure time for us to get aboard. (Thankfully, if you’re on an official tour from the ship, they won’t leave you stranded.) Although our camera and cell phones survived, our passports got totally drenched and are a bit rumpled to this day, even though they eventually dried out! On the way home, it occurred to me that I should have been better prepared. There’s doubtless a good reason why they’re called rain forests! Next time I’ll carry a small umbrella, just in case! You know, my whole life is kind of like a skywalk through a rainforest! Is yours? Breathtaking, but it leaves me breathless sometimes…and it’s unpredictable. We have an “umbrella” on our insurance policy. Do you? Did you know there’s an “umbrella” for our spiritual insurance (assurance) too? It’s found in the person of Jesus Christ, who died in our place so that we can have forgiveness for our sins and be reconciled to God. We don’t have to worry about the judgment of God, because Jesus is the guarantor for all who trust in him. So, we can say with Amos: “Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24), because, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator” (Hebrews 9:14-16).