Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Residents of Palo Verde

Before coming to Palo Verde Biological Station, our last stop on our 3 month journey, whenever we asked people how it was they would say, “It’s nice, the food is great, but there are just lots of mosquitoes...” which was a response we would just shrug off in the moment. It was not until we arrived in the Guanacaste region, experiencing a complete temperature increase from the previous site of Monteverde that I realized our last stop would be very different compared to the previous stations. We arrived at the station just as the sun was setting and in the distance we could see the beautiful colors of the sky as the day was coming to an end. Once I saw this I was ecstatic because in our previous sites, the sunset was not really visible and I had missed the hour long summer sunsets we have in Northeastern US. When we arrived, the mosquitoes were not particularly noticeable, which was quite odd to me recalling all the previous comments about Palo Verde, but once we got into our rooms we were greeted by another common resident of Palo Verde. Once we put all our stuff down and began to settle in, my roommate noticed something crawling on her bed, thinking it was a spider she got closer, and to her surprise it was a little scorpion. As someone who pretty much has night terrors about bugs being in my bed, I was unsure of how I was going to handle the next three weeks. To make the situation even better, I then found a scorpion on my bed as well. After removing it and attempting to calm myself down, the following night sleep was quite restless due to my paranoia of another scorpion returning even with my bed net all tucked in.  
            After that first night and realizing everything was going to be okay, my restless nights soon became nights of deep rest as long as I checked my bed every night. Although I still have some apprehension about finding another Palo Verde resident in my bed, it has helped me get over my fear of insects and other creatures that may come out in the night. While they may be creepy and unpredictable in the night, they are not trying to hurt anyone unless provoked and learning to live with them all around the station has made me more appreciative of them in a way. Hopefully I will no longer have any bad dreams involving insects or scorpions once I get back home after those dreams becoming reality. While the scorpions were definitely present, the mosquitoes were not as bad as I was expecting in the beginning. Besides the scorpions and mosquitoes, Palo Verde also has a beautiful and very different forest than those we have previously seen and of course the sunsets that light up the marsh and sky every night. As the semester comes to an end, I am a slightly reluctant to leave the warm, breezy days and beautiful sunsets and have them replaced with cold and snowy days that will greet me when I return home. 
Shannon Law-Clark 
Providence College

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