May we all have land the way we have air

At the entrance to the Volcán Tenorio National Park, a sign displays a translated sentence from the poet Jorge Debravo: “May nobody have land the way they have suits; may all have land the way they have air.”

As I generally find with poetry, and almost always with Debravo, the translation just doesn’t sound as good as the original (“Que nadie tenga tierra como tiene traje; que todos tengan tierra como tiene aire“). But it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the reminder that land is part of our birthright, part of what we need to live. Green expanses and wild places. After months spent mostly in my own home, I felt those words all the way down to the tips of my toes as I stepped onto the nearly empty trail. I felt them thrum through me again as I gazed out over the peaks of Tenorio in the distance, such a sweeping view after hundreds of days of ceilings and walls.

I hope that, economic troubles and health restrictions permitting, some Costa Ricans are able to visit a national park during this shutdown of international tourism. Those who live near the parks, especially. To see their own birthright without crowds and lines: that’s a silver lining we can all celebrate. I know there are many for whom it will not be feasible, but I will hope that at least some people who live near these treasures will get a chance to wander through the places that, the rest is of the time, they lend to the rest of the planet.

They deserve it.

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 FacebookIf you want to learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section, updated regularly – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.


One thought on “May we all have land the way we have air

  1. That is the value of learning languages, as translations rarely do justice to the original, not to mention learning the local dichos.
    Try reading leaves of grass in Spanish…
    Greetings from Amherst VA.


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