No Strangers to the Underlying Beauty

People everywhere want just one thing–
to be and feel loved
Honored by another’s presence
Lifting up their deepest sense of being

We saw this in those dark brown eyes
of the two young Costa Rican girls
in that small village near Tortuguero
Not only their eyes, but their half smiles said:
Lift us up just a little higher
that we may see slightly beyond
Help us remember that the same beauty
in these sweet flowers all about fills us
Helping us get through the swirling darkness, falling
once the sun has set

You are not of our world, but
at the same time
you are not strangers to this beauty
filling the flowers, and all of us
May we, for just one moment
stand together with you in its presence


5:12 am, Arenal erupts
Thunderous roar, breaking early morning silence
like some soaring fighter jet, rushing overhead

Even grousing howler monkeys grow quiet
and the singing birds still themselves in nearby trees
as something more powerful speaks

Clouds cover her cone
Only her faint outline visible
Her presence we feel, so vast, uncontrollable

Respect she instills
Her bellowous voice
A reminder, our humble place on the planet

Finding Lost Parts of Ourselves Cruising Down the Tortuguero River

People like us take nature vacations
to find lost parts of themselves
Parts they never knew they had, until
they’re overtaken by that lost part
on a cruise down the Tortuguero River
Letting the wind blow their hair in all directions
Surrendering to the shrieks and grunts of the male howler monkeys
snapping their brittle sense of reality in two

Whatever we found that Saturday afternoon
with the wind in our faces, and
the sun beating down on our backs
has awakened something DEEP inside us
Something telling our souls to return to this place
where the green sea and leatherback turtles
come each year to lay their eggs

Tico Mothers’ Reflection

Everyday, large buses fill our dirt road
Stuffed with gawking tourists
following the same road
our ancestors did to find this place

These strangers peer at us
like some carnival sideshow attraction
Their squinting eyes miss our world
The place we live, and matters

While the buses slow, enough
for the strangers to snap their pictures
So little they will ever know
So much we will hide from them

So few of their dollars, francs and yen make it our way
Just barely enough
to make us dream past our rusted white icebox
made in 1939 in Evansville, Indiana

Just enough they leave behind, to make us wonder
how long before our sons and daughters grow restless
with their Tico roots, and trade
their Costa Rican country life for some LA ghetto

Costa Rica from Upon High

first impressions last
it was love at first sight
as our plane edged toward san jose
our dream of costa rica came to life

there she was…
an endless sea of dark green velvet
rainforests, lush, deep, beckoning
lakes sparkling like pools of diamonds

her rounded, layered mountains, interspersed with smoking volcanoes
reached high into the cloud-speckled sky
her jagged coastline stretched into turquoise blue water
we were lost in her sheer beauty

suddenly cleveland seemed so very far away
from a distance this latin lady struck our fancy
now, we breathlessly awaited our first slow dance
to hold her close-up and smell her sweet perfume