Holiday-wise, November brings some celebrations to Costa Rica from other climes: some people do celebrate Thanksgiving here, whether because of a U.S. relative or just a liking for the idea, and of course, Black Friday rears its ugly head with increasing vigor each year. But November is also the time for the most authentic Costa Rican tradition you can imagine – the Oxcart Parade, which fills the country’s biggest city with the pride of its countryside.
You need to see this spectacle for yourself. In case that’s not imminently feasible, I took lots of photos, as you can see. So did a gaggle of professional photographers, which, in fact, is part of the reason I have never attended this event in 15 years in Costa Rica: it’s across town on a Sunday morning, and I guess I’ve always figured I will see it in the paper the next day, expertly captured by the best. But oh, the sheer volume of cart after painstakingly painted cart, the faces of the impeccably coiffed girls and stoic old ladies riding high in their places of honor, the old man strumming his guitar and making every child on the sidewalk fist-bump him, the kids casually steer enormous bulls through the streets… it was an astonishing thing to witness.
And I probably would have missed it except for the Daily Boost, an entirely made-up obligation. Which taught me something. I kind of hate it when people say that what you put out into the world is what you get back, because even though they would hasten to say they don’t mean that you “earn” illness or injustice, that’s always how the statement hits me. In big ways, the statement is not true, because some people simply do not get what they deserve. But it can be true in small ways. If you love something and talk about it, an announcement in the paper about that very thing will catch your eye in a new way. If you decide that you are supposed to be a person who finds beauty around her, for no other reason than that you said so, you will find yourself in the middle of beauty more often.
So much of life, of what we see or miss, is determined by the tiniest breaths of air that blow us one way or another when we make a decision, when we balance on that tipping point between “meh” and “yes.” When we say out loud what we love and want to see, even if we only say it to ourselves, we make our own breeze. Not gusts of wind. Just the smallest puffs. But at the right moment, they can still change our course.
I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter).