Postcard from the Costa Rican Cloud Forest

Photo: © S.V. Bertrand. All rights reserved.


Forgive me if I send you this postcard to your office, but I don’t know your home address anymore. To be fair, I don’t think you’re aware of what country I’m in or what I’m doing here.

There are no postcards of the place I’m living in, so I bought this one in San José while I waited for my bus to leave the station. It was an eight-hour ride down south until Copa Buena, near the Panama border. It was dark when I arrived at the pueblo, and a cab took me to buy some groceries before heading to the natural reserve that’s been my home for the past month.

You never cared much about my writing, but that’s what I’m doing here. They wanted someone to write a novel about the endangered jaguar. I sent them a proposition and they gave me a full scholarship.

I’m living in a cabin in the woods, with no hot water and isolated from almost everyone. The rains are powerful and the air is the cleanest I’ve ever breathed. It makes me think of that film, The Mission, that you showed me when I was little. What was the last movie we watched together?

Once a week I go to the pueblo to buy food. They make a mean fried chicken here. The pueblo is very small, and they don’t even have a gas station. There’s a house with barrels of fuel, and they fill the car tanks with a hose.

I see all sorts of animals here, from iguanas to spiders and scorpions. A friend I made taught me that when a scorpion stings you, you need to capture it, remove the tail, crush it and spread its guts on the wound. They have the antidote for their own poison. Sucking a lemon also helps. I haven’t been stung by anything yet, other than mosquitoes, but you never know.

This postcard has been in my desk all this time, and I look at it while I work on the book. Only now I gathered the courage to write something in it. The next time I go to the pueblo, I’ll mail it to you. If you get this, and if she doesn’t tear it to pieces before you have the chance to read it, I hope things are ok with you. This place is harsh sometimes, but one kinda likes it. I’ll be back next month. Please, don’t wait for me at the airport. I’m afraid you’ll say something that sounds clever in your mind, but will only make me feel worse.

Your son,


Matt Ferraz is a Brazilian author with a master’s in biography at the University of Buckingham. His works have been published in Australia, Italy, the UK, and the US. Matt’s most recent book is Sawara: A Jaguar’s Memoir, an eco-fiction novel written at the heart of the Costa Rica cloud forest.

Appears In

Issue 10.1

Browse Issues