The incomparable Katy VanDusen invited the community to celebrate her birthday recently.  Yes, she really is 60 (which is much higher than the maximum speed of her electric golf cart) but you wouldn’t know it by the multitude of ways she continues to serve the school and community.  Just that birthday week she:

  • taught her weekly yoga class (with all proceeds going toward carbon neutrality projects at the school)
  • led a birdwatching activity during our Alternative Worship morning
  • prepared to launch new CORCLIMA website (working to reduce emissions, capture carbon, and adapt to climate change)
  • attended a board meeting of MFUS (Monteverde Friends US, which helps raise money and issues charitable tax receipts in the US for our school)
  • led a Conflict Resolution workshop for our primaria students during Abolition of the Army day (see photo above, with Carol Evans)
  • carried out duties as board member for the Monteverde Community Fund and the Bosqueeterno S.A.
  • and most importantly, made her famous Focaccia Bread for the monthly Quaker potluck (first Sunday of each month, 12:00, welcome!)
Katy VanDusen and Sue Trostle in Monteverde

Katy (right) with Sue Trostle

Wondering how to celebrate her birthday? Katy says, I would be thrilled if folk are moved to make a donation to the school’s scholarship fund in honor of my birthday.

Katy first came to Monteverde in 1980.  She initially milked cows on the Lowther Farm and kept the books at the Coope Santa Elena.  She fell in love with her future husband Frank Joyce, and co-led the Santa Elena Economic Diversification Study that eventually led to the founding of the women’s co-op CASEM.  If there’s anything good happening in the Zone, Katy’s probably part of it, having served on many committees and boards including the Friends Meeting, Monteverde Institute, and Conservation League.  She clerked the school committee clerk for 13 years, and spearheaded the school’s fundraising program that now provides financial aid to over half our local students.  Her 3 children all graduated from MFS – we featured her daughter Helen Joyce, now in medical school, in an earlier blog post.  She now coordinates CORCLIMA, uniting Monteverde to be carbon negative and a model of climate resilience.

“I can’t think of a school I’d rather send my kids to.  They didn’t just get great academics; they learned to love Quaker values, mostly from the example of people in the school community.  Not that anybody’s perfect, but we are working together to build community and nurture community with Quaker values.

The world needs many more MFS’s – it’s really worth investing in.  The world needs kids/people who will be able to solve the big conflicts of the world; who know how to respect each other and the natural world.”

On turning 60, Katy was touched by the (not surprisingly) huge turnout for her potluck (of course) party, and introspective about balancing her active community work with her quieter side.

“Being 60 in this community is extraordinary, because when I put out the word I wanted help celebrating, everybody in the community has greeting me with smiles and hugs, with overflowing love.

I tend to be dominated by my To-Do List, my logical mind.  But my happiest times have been when I also take the time watch birds and enjoy poetry…”

Appropriately, Katy asked each guest to bring a piece of favorite (or original) poetry to share with the group.  Below are some snippets compiled by Katy (always productive, even after her own party!). [Bullets added and formatting altered for this posting.]  Thank you Katy, for all you share, and the loving spirit with which you share.

And again, thank you to anyone who is moved to celebrate Katy and her birthday with a donation to the scholarship fund that she helped to build into powerful way to support over half our local students to attend Monteverde Friends School.

Katy VanDusen teaching birdwatching in MonteverdeWater:

  • Dust if you must, but there’s not much time, with rivers to swim…
  • … pour the Waters of the Nile  On every golden scale!
  • …. slide through Streams like a luminous fish.
  • I come into the presence of still water
  • The impeded stream is the one that sings.
  • Love is a river.  We are whirlpools in it.  The world loves whirlpools.
  • Inundated
  • Suffused with clouds and mist
  • las largas eles de la lluvia lenta  volvió la lluvia  a tocar tristemente la ventana,  luego a bailar con furia desmedida, sobre mi corazón
  • Se preocupa por el tratamiento de las aguas grises
  • Dark brown is the river,  Golden is the sand.  It flows along forever,  With trees on either hand.


  • Pine trees, climb trees,Oak trees, smoke trees,Fruit trees, root trees, That’s not all.
  • Descending from trees, monkeys pose, breathe, sigh,  om, pause
  • I was just alive
  • Beneath the holly tree Katy and Alia sit, and meditate
  • my thoughts, …  they floated light as moths among the branching of the perfect trees.
  • se preguntan   Dónde radica mi secreto.
  • la pasión se alimenta de personas  con sueños y firmes raíces.
  • se mueve como una rama  del sueño colectivo de una comunidad.
  • To comprehend a nectar Requires sorest need.
  • I shake my memory, Maybe something in its branches That has been asleep for years Will start up with a flutter.
  • dejará algún día volar semillas de ideas e historias
  • Ask the last fruits to ripen on the vine; give them further two more summer daysTo bring about perfection and to raise the final sweetness
  • Dropping fruit  I have eaten  the plums  that were in  the icebox  and which  you were probably saving for breakfast. Forgive me,they were delicious,so sweet,and so cold.
  • Nut trees, cut trees
  • The trees are coming into leaf  Like something almost being said; The recent buds relax and spread, Their greenness is a kind of grief.
  • Is it that they are born again And we grow old? No, they die too.
  • Red trees, dead trees,Ash trees, crash trees, All trees fall.
  • al dejar caer las hojas que nutren nuestras propias ideas.
  • breast and brain grow to some southern tree
  • I am staring at this strange old face, and someone else is in my place!
  • It’s still so long till I am dead, So please don’t see me in that way  I’m staying young, if that’s ok.


  • I want the earth renewed,  An end to fossil fuels
  • I wish for no cars, coal fires, clang-Clang nuclear alarms, or only electric motors For the Great Mother
  • Usted ¿Que hace con su basura? No deja de alimentar el suelo
  • I have to cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, With no extraordinary power,Reconstitute the World.
  • Wouldn’t it be great if jobs were sweaty and outdoors, And people lived so simply nothing was lacking?
  • figure out what you hope for live inside that hope live right in it
  • En mi panza  Each tiny creature, Holds a piece of Earth’s future.  Why don’t we know this?
  • the kingdom of the father is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it.
  • Land fading into many shades of green
  • For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free
  • From the red cliff of the mountain  He watches from his mountain walls, mountains to climb
  • God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there, And learn by going where I have to go.
  • Where was I going that day, What was I doing – I don’t know
  • The earth rotated unnoted in my notebooks,I thought the earth remembered me, she Took me back so tenderly,


  • I go lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds
  • una gran pajarera
  • All night I heard the small kingdoms breathing around me, the insects, and the birds
  • Surrounded by flapping wings, birds calling
  • A gold-feathered bird Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
  • Golden eagle eagling
  • I want to become a great night bird


  •    so take the lively air, And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
  • No deje de fluir con el viento.
  • no need for an umbrella, I’m getting dry in the wind and the sun
  • Ring’d with the azure world, Now forever and ever brace my wings on updrafts, Roll them down with a motion


  • That lifts me slowly into the stars To fly above the troubles of the land.
  • No harm tonight, In starry skies
  • the shifting – delicate tints of love and pride and doubt – to truly understand.
  • O love is the crooked thing, There is nobody wise enough To find out all that is in it, For he would be thinking of loveTill the stars had run away  And the shadows eaten the moon.
  • nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
  • Now forever and ever
  • … Pati nos dejó    … Ms. Moss partió
  • the darkness surrounds us, what can we do against it,  Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows…. meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.  …each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
  • like the moon left on all night among the leaves, may you invisibly delight this house
  • you can force your heart and nerve and sinew  To serve your turn long after you are gone,
  • constellations reign his stars eternally.
  • And I feel above me the day – blind stars waiting with their light.
  • Oh star, doubly compassionate, who came too soon for twilight, too late for dawn, may your faint flame strive with the worst in us through chaos with the passion of plain day.


  • de la oscuridad   Alguien te rescatará,  Para ir cantando. Cantando al sol
  • …danzando que como rama busca el sol
  • one more spin around the sun
  • El sol de mi sonrisa.
  • Close to the sun in lonely lands
  • From the sun that ‘round me roll’d, In its autumn tint of gold
  • The sun flared and died beyond my horizons
  • Es el fuego de mis ojos


  • Siempre buscando paz e igualdad
  • unreal but real – too swiftly
  • On whose light do I dance to my heart’s content?


  • Alia
  • Anon
  • Maya Angelou
  • Sofia Arce
  • Selena Avendaño
  • Stanislaw Baranczak
  • Wendell Berry
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Clare Cavanaugh
  • Robert Creeley
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Ed Dorrington
  • Joseph Paul Even Fjielstad Ferguson
  • Nicholas Gordon
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Joe Heithaus
  • MJ Hill
  • Francis D. Hole
  • Galen Juliusson
  • Rick Juliusson
  • Richard Kenney
  • Barbara Kingsolver
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Philip Larkin
  • Jacquie McKenna
  • Rose Millagan
  • MJ Mills
  • AA Milne
  • Jennie Mollica
  • Joe Navarro
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Mary Oliver
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Adrienne Rich
  • Rilke
  • Theodore Roethke
  • Rumi
  • Mercedes Sosa
  • Wallace Stevens
  • Robert Lewis Stevenson
  • Derek Walcott
  • Walt Whitman
  • Carlos Williams
  • WB Yeats
  • Paul Zimmer