one of the things that struck me about costa rica was the sheer quantity and variety of green. but mostly the quantity. it was everywhere. layers and facets and shades and sheets and canopies of green. green and green and green. and, to be honest, this eruption of life from every part of the panorama was at once breathtakingly gorgeous and a bit overwhelming.
but the lush landscape also served as a perfect canvas for dots of color that popped up like epiphanies. birds and lizards who painted the verdant vista in technicolor. and the best of that, for me, was the toucans who would pass through each day, landing on the branches above us, temporarily decorating our view like a tropical Christmas.
hidden among the leaves would be this large bird, barely visible if i wasn't looking for it, but almost violently vibrant if i paid attention. the color would almost take my breath away.
and it reminds me of how i need to pay attention. i am currently in the midst of reading luci shaw's book 'breath for the bones,' and one of her chapters is about being attentive to the world around you and really seeing. and the toucans teach me the same lesson. i need to be aware. i need to be looking up - around - wherever. i need to free myself from the distractions of the irritating slowness of the car above me, or the inane ignorance from the television. i need to open up my eyes to the color of life, the extravagant, almost scandalous gifts of grace shrouded in each moment, hidden only because i am too blind to notice. but if i pay attention (and luci shaw says that the word 'pay' is significant - we pay in time and energy and discipline), i may just be blessed beyond knowing, and connected to my wildly imaginitive Creator. the very same Creator who, in a moment of what must have been almost ridiculous joy, designed the long curved beaks and festive colors of the toucans.