Semana Santa, Holy Week
Who knew that a morning of exploring Panama’s coast and waterways for wildlife, turtles, and manatees would be a perfect reminder of why we celebrate Semana Santa.
Our residency was supposed to go through by the end of last week so that we would no longer have to leave the country for a 3 day visa reset trip. It didn’t go through so we found ourselves planning a last minute trip to Panama. The trip down to Panama was uneventful and amazingly beautiful as we had not been to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica yet. The road to Panama traveled along the Caribbean Ocean and the thousands of acres of banana plantations. It was beautiful. Crossing the border was much easier since we had done a border crossing before and know a bit more Spanish this time. We have also gotten used to scary, rickety bridges in Costa Rica, so walking over a bridge that had holes in it big enough for Abby to fall through wasn’t quite as concerning.
Our first full day in Panama, we decided to do something that we would never be able to do in Connecticut. We went on a tour to see manatees and turtles. We took a boat ride out to the manatee ‘blind’ but before we got there we stopped by to say hello to the sloths. They were difficult to get a good picture of but that was very cool to see. We have a picture of the ‘blind’ or like one of the kids said, “Cool! A tree fort,” where we observed the manatees. When we arrived, we unloaded our cooler with lunches packed and watched below as a man tied up banana leaves and a hand of bananas which hung just at the surface of the water.
|Hanging the bananas and leaves.|
Then we waited… and waited..and waited. The kids wondered how long it would take. “Well, the brochure said the tour is about 5 hours and since it took us 30 minutes to get to the tree fort, my guess is about 4 hours.”
“Oh, did we forget to tell you that part?”
|Laying around waiting.|
|Watching the Manatees.|
|The ground when Rob got up. It was very hot.|
So, the kids sat and watched the water for a while. Then they went to the back side and watched the trees for interesting birds, then started scrolling through pictures on ipod touches and phones. Anything to pass the time quietly. Finally, after about 1 hour and 15 minutes, everyone seemed to succumb to the waiting. The restlessness dissolved and everyone became very quiet, laying on the platform, and listening to the beautiful sounds of nature. I enjoyed about 15 minutes of this silence until we heard the crunch of a manatee nibbling on a banana leaf. Coolest thing ever to watch these huge mammals gracefully move around underwater cautiously poking their noses out of the water before eating the snack we left out for them. The smallest noise would startle them and cause a big splash. Mara and I even saw a turtle swim by but didn’t have our cameras ready to get a picture.
The experience of waiting for manatees reminded me of our relationship with God. We want to hear Him speak to us. And we think that we are “waiting” to hear from God and in the process we are keeping ourselves busy or distracted to help the time go by more bearably and yet nothing happens. He is silent. It isn’t until we succumb to the waiting and become totally quiet and still before Him that we get what we are waiting for, a sense of His presence and to hear Him speak to us.
|Turtle egg huts.|
|Playing in the ocean near the turtle tracks.|
Have a Happy Easter everyone!