By Eliott Park, Mitzvah Corps Costa Rica 2016 Participant
Insignificant. When applied to a person, this word does not evoke the most heart-warming response. Contrarily, it is often taken as an aggressive and harmful descriptor. But it doesn’t always have to be. Today, I experienced insignificance through an entirely new perspective.
Prior to the labor that awaited us, we had the pleasure of visiting Poâs volcano, one of the many here in Costa Rica. The route we navigated was arduous and soaking wet, yet the scenery compensated. The moisture was merely a component of the experience; a blanket of condensed water enshrouded us while droplets danced down from the miraculously lit canopies. However, the waves of thick fog didn’t stop us from using our four senses of nature (thanks, Rodolfo) to fully grasp the complexities and simplicities of the natural world.
Our more than qualified tour guide/geologist was sure to provide a wealth of knowledge, ranging from the mechanics behind volcanic eruptions to the ecology of each type of rain forest. Due to the expertise of our beloved Rodolfo, we emerged at the apex of the hike: the acid lake at the center of the massive crater. Much to our surprise (and in some cases, disappointment), there was no lake to be seen. Instead, what stared at us was pure nothingness. The sea of fog was as dense as naturally possible. Absolute oblivion. Insignificance flowed over and enveloped me.