Architect: Benjamin Garcia Saxe
Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Budget: 40,000 USD
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of Benjamin Garcia Saxe
She wakes up when the moon is going down. The loud noise of the crickets reminds her that she is surrounded by the forest. The warmth of the rising sun filters through the leaves and warms the rough wood floors. She knows its time to make bread. The chirping has changes to bird singing. The stove heats the air and the smell seeps through every crack into the forest.
My mom goes outside to take a shower under the water tank and suddenly a sporadic rain mingles with her drops. She runs into the house and dries up with the heat of the stove.
I wake up and realize that its morning. The sun is up and there is fresh bread on the table. I can see that my mom is planting an aloe vera plant in the dirt floor of her living room. She somehow knows the perfect place for it to grow.
The sunrays begin to hit the tin roof. She opens all doors, all screens, all windows and the wind picks all of her Hindu drapes. I can also see the recently washed blankets waving on a rope that is strung from the two big trees that give shade to the house. The wind picks up the leaves and brings them into the house. My mom is always cleaning but nothing is ever clean.
There is not much to do, but she manages to keep herself busy between Tarot cards, left hand political readings, pot, and a seldom phone call. She moves about the house trying to find a place with a better signal. She has found such a place between the front door and the tree. She has placed a rock there, where she can sit to talk for hours.
My mom wants to take me to the beach, but I can see that she is worried about leaving the house alone. She hides some of her most valuable possessions: books, pictures, and the pot. She places a tree branch in front of the entrance, leaves the radio on, and the door wide open. She then screams “Bye, we’ll see you later” as if there was someone still in the house. To me it seems as if she is saying goodbye to her house, and the house mumbles through the forest as we walk farther and farther away from the radio.
We walk through the forest into the dirt road that reaches the beach-break. My mom goes for a swim in the ocean and after a while sits right next to me to watch the sunset. She is dazzled with the sight even though she has seen it hundreds of times. She explains that we should head back in order to catch the last glimpse of sunrays that will lead the way back to the house. We begin to hear the radio getting louder and louder as we get closer to the house. She checks all her natural alarms that tell her if anyone has been around the house; from the tree-branch in front of the door to the hanging ceramic fishes that she has placed hanging from the surrounding trees.
The sunlight is dimming and soon the forest will be illuminated by the bright moon. She is afraid that darkness will bring an intruder to disturb us. The candles provide a flickering light while she plays the guitar. She prepares a quick meal which is hard to eat because of the lack of light. The moonlight enters the house, and I know that soon she will go to sleep. She has placed her bed in a corner of the house where there is a direct view of the moon while she goes to sleep. She washes her face and wraps her body in soaking towels that lower her body temperature throughout the night. I can see that the moon-sight dazzles her every time and the sound of the crickets put her to sleep.
Every once in a while she wakes up in distress by the chirping noise of her natural alarms; from the carefully placed gravel around the house, to the dry branches that surround her bed. The only thing that gives her comfort is the illuminating sight of the moon moving through the trees.