At first, they are silent. They look around trying hard to comprehend the meaning of the word "green." Here, in the Costa Rican jungle, nothing is just Olive, or Army Green, or Bottle Green. Nuh-uh. That's too easy. Here, green is a thing. It's heavy and wet and ubiquitous. And like all inescapable things, Green is terrifyingly vast. It hugs you first thing in the morning as soon as you look out your window and it lays with you in bed, all damp, mossy, and clingy, like a needy lover.
The color green, surely, was born and given a name in the jungle. A tree is Fern Green, which is not the same as Laurel Green. The stem of a budding plant is Mantis Green, which is different from Myrtle Green. Pine Green. Sap Green. India Green. Brunswick Green. None of which should be confused with Spanish Green, Sea Green, Jade Green, Harlequin Green or even Yellow Green. If the couple were to spend one year in Costa Rica per each hue of green they find, they'd be here many more lifetimes.
They say, Look, Look, like children do. That's the thing about this jungle. It makes them go back to their childhoods. It puts them in a state of constant wonderment. Here, they no longer are husband and wife: they are two children exploring a fantastic world of living creatures, giant trees, and aerial roots. Can I touch this? Can I walk there? What is this? Does it bite? Is it venomous? Is it poisonous? What happens if...? Is it true that...? Can I eat it? In this jungle, it is okay to ask questions, to ponder, to speculate, to photograph everything from different angles, to jot down notes so that they don't forget the names of the things they see. They collect river pebbles and dry leaves. They tiptoe their way around a sloth, whisper in the presence of a toucan, use sign language if they spot a lizard, hold their breath as they look at the crocodiles in the water. A type of reverence needs to be paid here. They both know this. They've been together many years. They know the godliness of beauty: they have seen it in each other.
They embrace inside a tree, because it's raining, the howling monkeys are making terrifying calls, the lightning is of apocalyptic proportions, and because she is frightened. (He is too, a little, only he wouldn't admit it.) Thunderous bolts of blinding light hit nearby. They count. One, two, three. Too close for comfort. They haven't seen anyone in hours and they are deep in the woods. It was sunny when they started their jungle walk; they don't have umbrellas, rain jackets, proper boots, or water, or food, or telephones. They are alone in a jungle downpour, the sound of which is nowhere near as soothing as the Nature Sounds tracks yoga teachers listen to. It sounds like the crust of the earth is cracking beneath their feet, like some ancient dragon has just woken up after centuries of hibernation and he is not happy. They find a Ceiba tree--a towering leviathan--whose colossal trunk has been carved out by the elements. They dive into each other's arms, shaking from cold and fear.
So, this is how we die, she thinks.
This is fantastic, he thinks.
But they don't say anything. They hold each other inside the belly of the tree and together, they wait for the sun.