“Worldwide we’ve got destroyed landscapes that was looking after itself until humans got involved. Wonder how we recognize that? Stupid – I mean if it were not preventable then I wouldn’t mind, but it is – completely preventable.” Peter Andrews

Rio Jama/Casa Loca – Once upon a time when mangroves surrounded Casa Loca – 2008

2012 – And then came the excavator and destroyed what thrived….

Casa Loca 2012 – almost-barren yard…

( 2014 or 2015?) Jama Ecuador – I stared at the parched landscape; the lovingly-planted gardens showed acute signs of drought. Little water trickled from the system that delivered water from the town of Jama, about 4 kilometers upriver. I peered at the maturing gardens, which transformed a once-barren lot. Native trees leaped skyward from seeds or roots, and transplants seemed eager to contribute.  In a two-year period, they provided shade, shelter and a perpetual leaf-rich mulch. A complete new assortment of birds in the canopy competed with the shorebirds for my attention.

Royal Poinciana – paired with the Green Kingfisher on the back balcony of Casa Loca. 2013

How long could those trees and flowers live without water? Frugal, I watered only those that suffered the most. With concern and empathy I thought, “Please; we need rain.”

Several hours later, my heart-felt wish was granted!

Rain triggers the Poinciana blossoms…

Scribbled in the dry season of 2014 or 15, the note captured my joy of hearing the barely-audible sound of life-giving sprinkles on Casa Loca’s roof. Slowly the sound increased until it roared in the unique way that a drenching rain sounds on a tin roof. Deafening, it can also be some of the most-beautiful music one can hear during a drought. I reached for a sheet of paper, and hurriedly wrote, “Thank you!” and propped it at eye level on a bookshelf.

‘Thank you thank you thank you!’ I smiled, opening the windows and inhaling that unique aroma when dust transforms to earthy loam. My heart smiled while my soul sent thanks to the universe…… The note stays close at hand as a gentle reminder to stay positive and grateful.

December 2018 – Poza Honda – Another fire

December 2018
Ten days ago with qualms, I shared my concerns about the drought, the fires, and the altered landscape. Perhaps your collective empathy – my dear and cherished readers – conspired with the universe and helped break this long-term cycle of drought! First came a few drizzles, so light they were barely noticed. The trees noted, however, and surely sighed with relief.

This Ecuadorian Trogon zipped down to snatch a tomato!

For two mornings in a row, the sound of drizzle announced the end of the dry season, and literally overnight, that parched landscape sprang back to life! “YIPPEEE!”

I moved the ‘Thank You’ sign from my painting area to the window.

(Perhaps it’s time to give this note a face lift!)

Yesterday/Thursday favored us with a morning drizzle, which increased and kept a slow steady rhythm for another few hours. As night approached, the rains returned, providing a soothing melody for the entire night.

I smiled at the rain-drenched landscape and gazed across the reservoir. The hypnotic fog merged with the far-away vista, restored to its glory. Only a few days earlier I gazed with concern at two recently-cut areas; one which flamed with a just-ignited fire.

Ah… now that’s a soothing and welcome scene!

With a cafe/chocolate/hibiscus drink in hand -(yes I’m strange) – I balanced the note on the window ledge and watched the morning awaken. I’m hopeful that the neighborhood birds will now return, as the banana feeders remain untouched, except for the occasional Scrub Blackbirds.

Every so often the Whooping Motmot also drops in for a tomato!

These life-giving rains returned just in time. Hopefully the felling of trees will soon halt, and nature can heal her wounds. As to remind me of the richness of avian life, the Little Tinamou whistles its tune as I articulate my thoughts. A second Tinamou answers. The Brown Wood Rails, silent and absent for several months, called from afar yesterday afternoon. “Is it safe to return?” they might ask. I hope they will once-again add to the neighborhood symphony.

As if to compensate for the absence of the regular visitors, Ecuadorian Trogons and Aracaris have dropped in this week. “Don’t give up,” is the message I receive, ” We’re worth the concern!”

From “Australian Story” — “It doesn’t matter you can see that grass is growing on this side of the fence – no grass there.. you’ve got stock fat as (fools?) on this side of the fence, stock are dying of starvation there – None of that matters to government – you’ve got to have the data. That’s one of the greatest achievements of Tony Coote.” – John Ryan 

This 30-minute documentary shares the inspiring story of a man with a vision, and what can happen when others take note, give encouragement and support:

AUSTRALIAN STORY – How Peter Andrews Rejuvenates Drought-struck Land

“…He was using weeds, when we’re spending billions of dollars just to get rid of them…

He was planting willows, when you get government grants to take them out…

He was planting reed beds when people thought you pulled them out of swamps…

Everything he did was contrary to what everybody was being told by the authorities. ”  – John Ryan, rural journalist

“… I wake up in the morning, and I’m going –‘What am I doing this for?‘ – and then I go – ‘ Well who’s going to do it?‘ – so like a (?) I keep on going, and I’ve kept on going… – Well I just couldn’t DIE, believing I hadn’t tried.” – Peter Andrews


(The cyber is about to close, so this will sail in your direction w/o a chance to proof it.   Perdon in advance!)   Z