The thing about rainforests is: they are always raining. In retrospect Young and I probably should have packed raincoats or umbrellas or something, but how could we have possibly known that the Cloud Forest would be perpetually moist? There is no way we could have foreseen this. As it is, we’ve more or less been wearing decorative sponges for the last three days.
I’m aware that a number of you mouth breathers hate the word “moist,” due to lingering unresolved psychological issues about the human body and shame. However “moist” is an apt term for the foggy peaks of Costa Rica. “Damp” is a place like Scotland. Which is to say: it rains a lot. And, because it is frequently cloudy, puddles linger, sometimes for decades. I’ve never been to Seattle, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s damp, too.
Costa Rica is a different phenomenon altogether. Rain is a kind of direct, blunt method of pouring water out of the sky. Sort of like if clouds could shout. But it only constitutes maybe 10% of the moisture here. About 20% of the water is drizzle, leaving a whopping 70% of precipitation arriving in the form of fog. This is more like if clouds could breathlessly whisper, and did so constantly.
As a result, everything I brought with me is slightly damp. My leather carrier bag (which I have not taken out in the rain) is slick to the touch. My clothes are all lightly spritzed. The bed sheets feel like they do when you take them out of the dryer too early. Yesterday my phone kept autocorrecting words to “moist,” and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
That’s not to say it’s unpleasant—far from it! I feel like I’ve wandered into the garden of the Titans, and am sheepishly peering down on Earth from the top of the world. From the windows of our lodge we can look straight down to Lake Arenal, a defunct volcano, and the surrounding mountains. It’s gorgeous. And I will gladly skip through cool and damp over hot and humid any day of the week.
The clouds only add to the ambiance. And we are in the clouds, slick with wet only because the mountaintop we’re staying at is scraping the underbelly of the sky like an errant mattress spring. One moment we’ll look out from the porch at the stunning view, only to watch the landscape disappear in a gale of fog which I can only assume would rival Lake Superior in sheer mass. Then the sky, from the horizon to forty feet below us, all merges with a malty wisp, and we feel like we’re on top of the world.
All this gazing out over the cloud forests does lead a man to think. I’m now able to verbalize a lingering thought I’ve had for years: I am extremely suspicious of water. Not in the sense that I’m frightened by it, in the sense that I sort of think someone is lying to me.
Try this one out next time your high: water has a liquid state at room temperature, and then a solid state below freezing. But there’s no intermediate state. That makes no sense to me. Shouldn’t water turn thick and slow as it gets cold, getting to the consistency of maple syrup before turning into ice?
I’ve actually spoken to some reputable scientists about this, but they immediately go off on a tangeant about molecules and atomic energy and whatnot.
I also think rivers are probably a scam. Up here in the cloud forests there is clearly enough rain and condensation dribbling into rivulets to fill the streams I’ve seen. Those are honest streams, as far as I can tell.
Now look at the Mississippi River. Allegedly all that water is runoff from melting snow. Sure, I nod my head and agree whenever a middle school history teacher pedals that explanation, but deep down I think: there can’t possibly be that much snow.
I’ve been in the mountains several times—maybe even four times—and usually the snowy bit is just a little pile at the top, on the peak. Definitely not a full Mississippi River’s worth of ice up there. I realize there are a lot of mountains, but I still don’t buy this explanation.
I think maybe there’s a big underground spring bubbling up somewhere near Canada, or possibly somebody’s basement flooded and they’re on vacation.
Andrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian in New York City. If this post made you laugh or think, kindly "like" it on Facebook.