Monthly Archives: March 2021

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, March 27 2021

Things have been quiet here in El Cajón. We’re still keeping close to home, awaiting our turn to be vaccinated. The old folks are first, there seem to be a lot of them in Costa Rica. I guess that means we’re still considered to be young. I suspect that when or if this pandemic dies out, life will never go back to the old normal. We’ve come too far. We’ve learned much about who we are, what we really enjoy, what’s really important. Friends, more than anything.

Life has become simpler than before. Just a year ago on Friday nights, a large group of friends and acquaintances would gather for dinner at Isabel’s restaurant, packing the small dining room. New people would come too, on vacation or newly relocated and wanting to get acquainted with the local community. Last Friday night it was just the two of us, Irina and myself, at home, enjoying dinner with the pups. A quiet evening, a delicious meal.

Fresh fish from the feria, grilled and served with a tomato-basil salsa

I don’t think we’ll ever again feel comfortable gathering in large groups, crowding together in a confined spaces to exchange germs.

The dry season is the time to tackle home maintenance projects, as the rainy season will be here in another month or so. I’ve already finished patching up driveways, ramps, and various stairways needing repair due to the wear and tear of the years. Also needing attention is the portico over our front door. It has always leaked a little, attempted patches proving futile. The leakage worsened last year, so we got our neighbor Joe Fuga on the job. “Fuga” is not his real last name – “fuga” translates as “leak” – but it’s the name that has stuck, used by gringos and Ticos alike. He’s working on a permanent solution to the problem and should be finishing up next week.

What a mess!

We’re enjoying our summer. Flowers and trees are blooming . . .

. . . and so is the coffee, impelled by the little bit of rain we had ten days ago.

I’m still working on a new, revised edition of Sketches of Poás. Here’s a poem from the book.

Alone together 

Houseguests gone
incessant chatter. 
Calm of bird 
call and song.
Alone at last

El Cajón de Grecia, March 13, 2021

It’s now the height of our “summer” season. Everywhere around here, the orchid that is Costa Rica’s national flower is in bloom.

guaria morada blooming in a guatite tree

The weather will be consistently clear, warm and beautiful for another six or seven weeks. Then, the rainy season comes again. The first rains are always so welcome.

You’ve heard of leaf-cutter ants? This is what they can do to a plant, overnight.

A lonely hibiscus flower

I’ve been revisiting my book “Sketches of Poás”, making a few minor revisions. The poems, I think, have held up well. They’re simple and unassuming, but I like them a lot, still.  I think I’m going to publish a collector’s edition, everything – drawings and poems – printed on glossy paper. The art especially will look so much better, and Gesa’s work deserves the special treatment even though the book will be more expensive. 

Here’s one of the poems from the book, its subject matter appropriate for the approaching holyday:

Viernes Santo

A white church
perched on a ridge
across a canyon
a soft drone
a woman's voice
rising, falling
cloudpuffs drifting

And another, one of my favorites:


On terrace tile
at sliding glass door
two moths lie
a female, large, powdery white
steppingstone accents outlined in umber
a male, smaller, markings more dark
hind wings fading to almost sheer 

barely touching —

her leg, his abdomen
his nose, her wing
still, stretching out towards noon
as if exhausted by night of passion
in their bliss forgetting time 
to rise to go to where moths go
when dawn begins to glow its light.