Mangoes are falling. Branches shake in the trees high above me, moved by invisible hands. The monkeys are coming. I can hear chirps that sound like high-pitch dolphin calls. Soon a parade of monkeys jumps from tree to tree above our porch at Villa Titi. I sit frozen, afraid to even sip my coffee. I do not want to scare them away. It is early in the morning on our first day in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. I am enjoying the fresh air of the soon to be humid and hot day on the porch of our rented villa.
As if by magic, I am suddenly surrounded by monkeys. There must be at least twenty of them in the large mango tree that grows above our villa. These are the squirrel monkeys; tiny, delicate, light tan monkeys with soft white faces. My eight year old son Max has come to the door. I slowly gesture him to stop. Max stares at our tiny guests who beam at us with small intense eyes. They are so close I tingle with excitement. I have never been this close to monkeys without a fence separating us. A baby clings to its mother’s back staring back at us in wide-eyed wonder.
After a pause, the monkeys begin the business that brought them to our tree. It is breakfast time. They begin their morning routine. They seem to have forgotten us completely. They throw the mangoes down from the tree. They run down to the ground to retrieve their fallen treasures. On the ground, they take a few thoughtful test bites before they carry the mango back up into the tree. Max and I watch with silly grins on our faces. As suddenly as they arrive, as if by mutual agreement, they all leave. The shaking branches and fading chirps mark their retreat.