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Real Estate Newsletter #20

September 7th, 2006

The Widow

It didn’t rain last night, although it is now the middle of the rainy season, Taking a walk near my house in Santa Ana, in the hot and humid night, I recalled this:

My neighbor, on the other side of the high adobe wall where I used to live, is an older Costa Rican widow. Occasionally I caught a glimpse of her and though we have never spoken to one another, I believe I know her, or rather I feel that I know about her life.  She appears bent by everything that has happened to her, saddened by things that I will never know about: unseen losses that the years have bequeathed.  And, though I try to avoid seeing her, I find that her unsmiling, forlorn presence is enough to darken the morning of an otherwise cloudless Costa Rican day.

I rarely see her. For the most part, she has succeeded in locking the world out, and in doing so behind those high estate walls, she has also locked herself in with the faded legacy of her younger life. The bowed body of the old woman, on those infrequent mornings when I see her in the outside world, at the Saturday farmer’s market, or in the village silently going about her life, cries loudly of a dream gone sour.  Her private, shrouded history suggests to me a sad tale of losses. Of lost family, wasted loves, squandered youth. When I hear her behind the wall shuffling around, moving her potted plants, puttering around her verandah, I imagine her life as a tragic story, a grievous account of what came to pass when she was blessed with the prospect of a lifetime in this luxuriant tropical Eden and how the promises all failed her.

Sharing this closed and darkly private world behind the wall with the widow is an ancient green macaw.  And when the sun is shining and the air is pleasant and temperate, the large old bird is taken outside onto the patio and placed on a perch, from where it talks incessantly and loudly to and about departed household members: it mimics children that have long ago grown up and moved away; household employees that years ago left to attend happier families; it imitates a stern husband that has died.  The macaw betrays all of the ancient family secrets. There are days when it takes on the persona of the family maid, loudly scolding the children, yelling at them to not run in the house, screeching at them to close the door, complaining that they don’t eat all of their food. And whenever deliveries are made to the side entrance, the bird imitates the long departed family dog and barks manically at the intruders.  At other times the macaw summons up voices of the children, laughing, speaking loudly in street slang.  And there are quiet times late in the day when the old bird becomes la señora the old lady herself, and one can hear, even as the bird chatters in nonsensical phrases, the edges of melancholy as it intones her formal voice; her staid, decorous, upper class social Costa Rican presence.

It’s difficult for me to ignore the old green macaw.  On mild, sunny mornings I find myself as an intruder, attending to the bird’s chatter, an avid and enthusiastic listening-Tom, waiting to hear more of the family’s concealed past.
On a recent, rare, full moon night, when the air was almost syrupy, I went out into the night for a long walk. Not a breeze stirred the high palms and the moonlit night was balmy, still, and overwhelmingly full of the fragrance of white gardenia lilies. As I passed by a section of high wall by the widow neighbor’s patio, I heard what seemed to be sleepy gurgling noises from the old macaw.  The sliding door to the house had been left open and the bird, I was sure, was looking out from its cage into the night.  It emitted what were for the macaw unusual sounds: murmurs, strangely sensual whimperings, and the bird’s voice rose up, trembling into the thick night air, towards the moon. I recognized the soft, high inflections through the strangely tremulous voice. It was being la señora..

The night air became quiet for what seemed like minutes.  And then from out of the quiet darkness of the interior of the old house the elderly bird softly moaned. There was a quality to the sound that was disturbing, even unearthly, and it was unlike anything that I had yet heard from the macaw.

Then I knew. The old green macaw was duplicating the murmurings of the mistress of the house, la señora, making love with her husband, oh so many years ago. The old bird groaned quietly and continuously into the night, increasingly louder, increasingly without reserve, for five minutes. And then, thundering and vibrating, the great old macaw screamed, “Aiyyy, dios!!”  Then there was quiet, only the silence of the hot sensual night, and in that subdued moonlit sweet night, I knew, I knew that the old widow had had her moments, had had her nights.  And I knew that the next time I saw her poking around at the Saturday morning farmer’s market, I would smile at her, smile a knowing smile, and would feel that we had shared something private, something just too wonderful. Harvey

Following is a very motley list of various kinds of Costa Rica properties. All are exceptional in one way or another. Most are not cheap. We hope that one of them might align with your private dreams.


Brasil Mora View lot - Super Inexpensive!

Gated Community Home, Santa Ana

Beach Hotel & Apartments, Manuel Antonio Beach

Popular Manuel Antonio Boutique Hotel

Samara Ocean View Home Price Reduction

Prestigious Estate Home, Villa Real

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