This poem was written on the top of a mountain ridge in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.


Not Knowing


Atop a mountain ridge, the lush and scarred valley below, 

a valley of beauty and also sorrow 

for the fires that came through just weeks ago. 


The merciless fires that tear through this land, 

scorching the earth and burning tall trees to the ground, 

the sound of its crackle, the smell of its smoke 

Made my eyes water, filled my lungs, made me choke. 


And I’m choked up again as I see proof of Earth’s warming, 

we’re heating up quickly, I take this as a warning; 

a warning that collapse is upon us right now, 

a warning that I might just have to allow 

the inevitable to happen, the unthinkable to unravel, reality to unfold.


I keep getting older and nobody told me 

The pursuit of the good life would be so much work. 

And the work changes, the targets move.

Am I changing or am I growing?


There’s no way of knowing, 

and the not knowing sucks.


It’s hard, it’s unpleasant, it’s scary and ominous, ever present. 

I just want to know who to be, how to help. 

So I pick up my shovel and dig to uncover the self; 

The self that resides under all these layers of noise.

I dig and I deepen and deep down there’s a boy

Who just wants to get better, to be enough. 


So I dig into the depths of unknown, 

not knowing what I’ll find, not knowing if I’m digging in the right place, 

but certain that I must dig, I can’t be complacent. 

And if I choose non-complacency, I’m choosing resistance.

I want life with ease and also betterment.


Not knowing, the hardest place to be, yet it’s where growth happens.

I have to acknowledge I’m choosing this path, 

I can make the not knowing my friend, get familiar.

And know what it’s like to not know, it’s peculiar.


To not know, to begin again.

To let go of the past and the future, just present.

Resting in the blessing of presence.

No worry of what might be or clinging to what was.

Accepting and trusting of what is.


I am in the seat of my own liberation.

And with a little more practice of concentration 

and awareness I can see. I am awake.


I am awake enough to know 

that these trees did not know when the fires would come 

to singe their trunks and topple their branches. 

These native trees that grew and grew and survived 

until it became their time. 

If the trees can grow into the unknown, so can I. 

I am awake. 

I know I do not know.