This wild life of ours
A crossing of borders
“Life imitates itself. Pretty neat, right?”
Our tour guide — Jeremy — says this offhandedly on a morning hike through the jungle, which is grown upon the ruins of an old coffee plantation. Many unique species have taken root in the Costa Rican tierra, all of which have had to adapt to a life in the native tico environment.
A notable thought, I realize. This is how life has existed and persisted throughout time. Every species, every organism, we all learn and grow from from the experiences and knowledge of each other.
I wonder how much of my poetry has been handed down to me through filters of human hands — an act of coincidental mutualism. I am twenty years too young to be a poet in this this world, but through learning, the age of my mind begins to surpass my body. Eons of ancient stories fall in my lap, tales of wondrous existences long since devoured by the Earth. And I read. My writing, like life, becomes an imitation game.
Nearly stepping on a trail of leaf-cutter ants, my immediate reality snaps back into place, and the sentiment fades. I rush up to the front of the group to make sure I get proper footage for the documentary I will be working on in the weeks to come.
how wild a thought:
you are made up of
every one that
you have ever been,
i see them in your eyes.
sit down with me —
there is so much to learn.
I take my seat on flight 353 next to a girl I do not know. This is my first time leaving the country in two years, returning back to the only place I have ever wanted to go since lifting off from American soil. Costa Rica is a land of wonder. There is something deeply innate that connects my soul to this place. I am unable to explain what that is, but I feel it in my bones.
The pilots make incremental announcements over loud speakers as we fly over states and countries —
“Passing through Florida.”
“Thousands of feet over Cuba.”
“Edging through Nicaragua.”
“Fifteen minutes out from Liberia.”
Borders seem to be freely permeable at 31,000 feet.
The flight attendants walk down the aisle after we reach cruising altitude. An older woman hands me slips of paper I must complete for Costa Rican customs. She reminds me of my grandmother. I smile and say, “well, thank you, ma’am,” just as that Southern woman taught me to do.
I learn that the stranger next to me will be residing in a neighboring Costa Rican bungalow while she helps me fill out my paperwork. She even offers me some snacks she brought with her. Her generosity is contagious.
She later tells me that her name is Abbey. With an “E-Y.” That is important.
i never knew
a world exists
todo de esto.
i write poetry
in my journal,
i have so much
to say now.
I land at the airport in Liberia. I recognize this place. It’s a faint scratching in the back of my mind. This is a familiar home for me. I greet a local tico airport worker. I offer a raspy, “Hola,” heavy from jet-lag and a 4 AM wake-up call. He responds with a smiling, “Hello.”
My first steps feel like reminiscing with an old friend. There are people here that I know — I catch up with Laurel and Pete, I’ve known them since high school. How special it is to share this place with them. We smile, thinking out loud. Never in a million years.
The way the people smile, the outline of the mountains on the horizon, the rickety bus ride through unpaved mountain roads — this is raw nostalgia. I sit behind blonde curls on the bus. Tara, she tells me. This is where we realize that I am best friends with one of her sisters. Despite the immensity of the landscapes we pass by, I cannot help but realize how small of a world this is.
I offer to share advice from my previous adventures here with my newfound friends. I tell them that the bus ride through the mountains will be… winding, to say the least. Tara laughs, and the people around us laugh with her.
Three hours and unpaved roads later, however, no one is laughing.
We arrive at the UGA Costa Rica campus after multiple bus-bound hours. With heavy eyes and full hearts, we explore what will be our home for the next month. How different is is than we imagined. The people who work here give us tips to acclimate to the jungle climate.
I feel unearthed. The unknown beckons me by way of piercing bird calls and howling bellows from the treetops. One of my classmates tells me that there are so many opportunities to explore, to open ourselves up. My defenses drop, a sigh escapes my lips. I give her my name, and she hums hers in reply as she bounces along.
Short, kind, and incredibly true — symbolic.
We learn to adapt quickly.
from the mountains of Monteverde,
to the coasts of las playas,
this is a journey.
join me, listen.
take my hand,
day by día.
This country whispers mantras amongst the dance of the leaves. Costa Rica is a cornucopia of diverse culture, rich history, and wild nature. Every experience leaves a mark on my soul, an ethereal tattoo.
We learn from listening, understanding, and discussing experiences with each other. Each interaction we encounter is like flying at cruising altitudes — seamlessly we cross through borders, through one another, without realizing it. So much of ourselves owes its origin to those around us. We embody that which we imitate.
The sun knights the horizon gently, royally. It seems that picturesque is a way of life in Costa Rica. Air carries clouds through me — I write down a poem that la naturaleza breathes into me. There are people nearby lying under trees, awaiting the stars to challenge the fading light. In these moments, I am tactilely engulfed.
We have crossed many borders today. Countries, states, cities — all fluidly. And in this day we have learned so much — from strangers, friends, el mundo natural. Perhaps just as smoothly as we have transcended borders, they have permeated us just the same.
these wild hills,
montañas verdes on the
edge of horizons?
familiar friends of mine,
a soft hallelujah.
these past few months
have swallowed me up —
spat me out like bile,
but my acquaintances tell me
that is what was:
life imitates life.
here? this is healing.
for me, for us.
they tell me
“and so it begins.”
let it come over you,
baptize you like bitter
holy wine, tonight —
this is how it all begins.
this is how it all ends.
and this? this is healing.
Thank you for reading — open yourself up to the world today. I love feedback! :-)