Tag Archives: family

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, September 26, 2021

When you think of cheese in Costa Rica, queso fresco comes first to mind. Queso fresco is found everywhere, in the markets and the ferias. It’s bland, rubbery, and insipid. We keep it on hand, as a dinnertime treat for the dogs. For ourselves, we have discovered several producers of excellent artisan cheeses, from fresh and soft to aged and hard, and even soft and ripened, as tasty and interesting as any in the world.

Our friend Ronald, who lives on the next ridge over from us, raises goats and makes goat cheese. This morning he delivered an order right to our doorstep, chèvre and an aged cheese he calls duro that has a hard crust and a creamy interior. Delicious!

Chèvre and two types of duro, the darker infused with wine

Ronald also makes flavored versions of chèvre, but as purists we prefer the plain. Yogurt, too, plain or flavored with fresh strawberries, blackberries or pineapple.

I have a new poem ready to share. This one was hard for me to write.

Some days

Some days anything
to keep hands, feet busy
to keep from the desk
sitting, thinking

what needs to be written
not yet ripened
not knowing the what
the how to be done

whole morning spent
hacking heliconias
making way for new growth
green shoots, bright blooms

drag the detritus
down to the pile
toss to the top 
to slowly mulch

uncover plants lost
deep in overgrowth
dug up, potted
place in the sun

boots grow heavy
jeans stain with mud
shirt soaks in sweat
called in for lunch

afterwards beat
path to the sofa
rest afternoon
not quite asleep

What do you say 
to a son to whom 
you never were father?

“I read what you wrote
liver inflamed
driving you blind.

"I’m so sorry.”

so hollow
so little
so late.

“I love you.

Pura vida.

Credits: Photos by Irina

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, August 5, 2021

Another month living with COVID. We went to town yesterday for a dental cleaning. In front of the dentist’s office was a line of people, stretching both ways and around the block, all wearing masks, desperate to get their vaccinations. Anybody over 20 is now eligible. Should have gotten a picture.

But we do have another flower photo. There’s always something in bloom.

Heliconia and ginger

I got an interesting email from my sister in California a while ago. I wrote a poem about it.


I heard from Peggy
my youngest sister, living
just north of Sacramento


of the heat, of smoke 
fires in the foothills


lakes and rivers
shrunk bottoms of mud
her faucet trickled
turned down to drips
as rolling around her
vast fields, great farms
long rows, wheeled sprinklers
spurting out streams.
"I’m so angry," she said
"Greed blindness inertia.
My coming to see 
is so shocking to me 
all of these years
I’ve been a Pollyanna."

Her fury simmered within me 
for weeks steeping
one night I found myself
with her in dream.

Sitting at a table
a restaurant, Midtown
near to the one
where she worked for me once
a sheltered patio outdoors
pandemic still raging.

“Remember those days?”
I say to her softly
“People lined at the door
receipts rolling in
to always be more
the money, success
you might think I was happy
but behind the mask
a man alone and lonely
a heart empty of hope
a life of despair.
Though I then didn’t see
the facade had to blow
I wanted, I needed
to start over from nothing.
I remember that day talking
eyeing path ahead.
"Get out of here!" I gritted. 
"Get out while you can.
This whole place
Is coming down.”

Y’all take care. !Pura vida!

Credits: Photos by Irina