Portoviejo/Manabi Province/Ecuador – Thanks to the magic of scheduling a post to be published at a specified date and time, this should reach you when the inauguration of Nomadas en Ecuador begins. What follows is my ‘Artist’s Statement’ written specifically for this event. Enjoy! Continue reading
Poza Honda/ManabiProvince Ecuador – Have any of you ever added images to Google Earth-Maps? It’s always been interesting to peruse those images and explore areas that we know well or to ‘cyber travel’ to new destinations without leaving home! The Satellite Image option helped me fine-tune my search for a new place to live, and reference images were very helpful.
This past week on Google Earth, I entered some GPS points for where I live – before passing them along for scientific reasons; almost immediately I hit a glitch. I could not find a place to type the coordinates. Perhaps that option is somewhere on the page, but I did not find it. Next I looked for my pinned images, and they were gone! In fact, there were no pinned images to anything on the map. Towns and places of interest were marked by name only. The letters were small and difficult to see – and my laptop has a large screen!
Eventually I found the image option, which on my windows browser showed in a long horizontal strip at the bottom of the page. There were photos from different areas, and mine could not be accessed until scrolling east on the map, leaving the house site out of view. After I selected and enlarged one of my ‘popular’ images, a little arrow-type bar zipped from the photo and pointed into the middle of the lake! Ha, I had to laugh – it was several kilometers from the right location and was obviously submerged at the bottom of the reservoir!
Unable to drag it back in place via the old system that worked well, I opened a new window and did a search which took me to a Google Earth/Maps forum. Oh my, demons must have firmly attached themselves to those who make decisions for Google Earth/Maps, and they have made a lovely mess of what was once a well-managed site.
I moved to another quadrant that I know well – the area around Jama, and I remembered that someone had posted a picture of a Royal Poinciana/Flamboyant. I was curious to see if it still marked the correct spot. In real life, the tree was within view of where I once lived near the mouth of Rio Jama.
There were zero photos of that area, but there were new ones from 2018 of the community of La Division. Checking various photos in the town a few kilometers inland, I discovered that the lovely flaming Poinciana tree had been magically transplanted to Jama! (Jama, still recovering from the earthquake, could actually use several dozen of those lovely trees!) Continue reading
45. – “The painter should be solitary, and take note of what he sees and
reason with himself, making a choice of the more excellent details of
the character of any object he sees; he should be like unto the mirror,
which takes the colours of the objects it reflects. And this proceeding will seem to him to be a second nature.” – Leonardi da Vinci Thoughts on Art and Life – Translator/Maurice Baring via Gutenberg.org
Manabi Province- Ecuador – The past few weeks have been physically demanding as I’ve worked on renewing my passport and getting it ‘in hand’ (10 more years – yes!) and also finished the move from Casa Loca. Since the Dengue/chikungunya illness, my body needs more attentive time for recovering from these trips – as well as unpacking and resuming projects. Of course it could also be that I am not as young as I once was, and it’s part of the cycle of growing older!
My new home offers an amazing immersion in nature – with wrap-around windows with tree-top views like this:
There are always tasks at hand, so every day or so I take a timeout and walk the very-short distance to a little roadside pond. Sitting there, I quickly merge with nature and leave all thoughts behind… I do not think of the past or of tasks in the future. The surroundings bestow me with an acute attention to what’s in front of me – and behind me – and overhead!
The Chachalacas often lure me away from the house with their raucous calls that sometimes last for hours! There at the pond I often illustrate Leonardo’s approach (see above quote) for observing nature. I sit on one of two rocks and observe the subtle changes from day to day. Not only is my body recharging its batteries, but I am also engaging in a task that Leonardo describes as essential to the seriousness of an artist’s work. It’s also essential to the health of my soul!
What WAS that flash of red – and blue – and yellow?
The Ecuadorian Trogon and the Whooping Motmot provide eye-candy rewards for my quiet disconnect at the pond. They are two of a revolving cast of unique birds that visit this pond.
One can work from photos and capture a strong likeness to the birds, but when one studies the birds in their natural surroundings, it’s easier to capture the true essence. This is true for any slice of nature… only through hours of observation will one grasp the nuances of each subject.
Recently, through the gift of the online Gutenberg.org site, I downloaded and enjoyed reading Leonardo da Vinci’s “Thoughts on Art and Life” — it was as if I had been channeling his advice during my visits to the nearby pond! Here are more of Leonardo’s words paired with images from the little ‘healing pond’ at Casa Poza Honda. Continue reading
“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.” -Hermann Hesse
The spiral design is one we’ve all drawn or doodled at one time or another. When I share with others the joy of drawing, we often start with drawing ‘tornadoes’ – a repetitive round and round and round type motion that helps us adjust to the pencil as well as slowing down our thoughts in an almost-hypnotic approach. After going around and round countless times, it’s almost effortless to then – with the same light touch – draw an ellipse.
Many times I find myself drawing spirals in that same easy-going style; not thinking of anything, I draw those flowing lines that spiral from outside to in – or inside to out. It’s like a form of meditation – no thought involved, just relaxed and soothing lines, a bit like watching a ballet or tapping into the natural flow of music. Sometimes a second set of lines wraps inside the other. There are times when my mood or life is less relaxed, and the fluid movements are replaced by geometric grids and cross hatching, as if my internal computer is analyzing every pixel while searching for the ones that need attention! Continue reading
“Going back in time at least as far as Plato there have been those who insisted that poets, and artists generally, are mad as hatters. Plato thought they were “inspired” and the Platonic dialogues are full of exchanges between Socrates and assorted poets and artists who are unable to explain to Socrates what exactly it is they do and what it is they claim to know. “ – Hugh Curtler
Well, you see, or maybe you don’t, because I cannot really articulate exactly what it is that I do or do not do – it’s more like asking why a cat suddenly tweaks its attention to an unseen entity two feet to its right – as it leaps skyward and moves laterally three feet to its left – it’s a spacial shift of inspiration that strikes when least expected, Continue reading
The worse my drawings were, the more beautiful did the originals appear. – John James Audubon
The above sketch, left in Casa Poza Honda’s guest book, seemed appropriate since the owl dropped in to say, “Welcome!” on my first visit to what would become my new home. This area has yet to be invaded by the snaking tentacles of telephone and broadband cables, which is a blessing, yet it has altered my ability to stay in touch with the outside world.
Since I take great comfort in complete immersion and solitude in nature, I have appreciated the opportunity to apply Thoreau’s attitude, ‘…to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach…’
This beautiful forest, a place to connect deeply with nature, supplies a perfect environment to study the flora and fauna. As soon as I am settled, I hope to present what affects me strongest via drawings and studies. That is not easily done when interacting with the world on a daily basis, so I am grateful to reclaim a life that gives me total focus without distractions.
Almost every morning is spent in complete silence as I merge with the rhythms of the natural surroundings. Before the daylight has wiped all traces of night from the scene, the Whooping Motmots can often be seen perched near the house. By 6:15, the Brown Wood Rails tip-toe into the yard on their predictable paths. Photos in such low light are always lacking, so I now watch quietly and appreciate their unique beauty.
After the first hour of absorbing, watching, listening, I usually venture outside and take an extremely-slow amble downhill. Continue reading
“The joy in life comes from doing your own thing.” — Bob Ross
Near Playa San Miguel/Pueblo Nuevo de Bejuco – Costa Rica.
A counter top makeover quickly morphed into a totally-different style for a guest house outdoor-style kitchen. The original was painted about six or seven years ago and had seen much use. It deserved a renaissance treatment with fresh paint! It was easy to spot the areas of heavy use, and we tossed around ideas for dodging similar problems in the future. Hank and Marie have decided to put this part of their property on the market, and the counter top was one of few things that needed attention. See: “A Little Monkey Told Me” for a sneak peek.
We enjoyed passing many tranquil hours – in the zen of painting in harmony and at times making room for others to help as well. Thanks Patty and Wendy for your help!
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” -Haruki Murakami
Thinking of all of you affected by storms, fires, floods and earthquakes… There’s a lot of universal concern and empathy pouring out in your behalf. Z
Poza Honda/Manabi Province/Ecuador – Searching random books to confirm a bird identification, I appreciated Alexander Skutch’s description of the Streaked Flycatcher.
The mention of an eclipse seemed timely for today’s post:
“…The big Streaked Flycatcher, which closely resembles the Sulphur-bellied in plumage, likewise seeks a high, conspicuous station to deliver his soft, sweet, clear-toned kawe teedly wink, which he may repeat with scarcely a pause for nearly half an hour. Like the Eastern Wood-Pewee, he often sings after sunset in the same pleasant strain, and at times more briefly, in a more subdued voice, in full daylight. One March, a partial eclipse of the sun caused a Streaked Flycatcher to begin his crepuscular song soon after four o’clock in the afternoon.” Alexander F Skutch: 1977 A Bird Watcher’s Adventures in Tropical America “The Dawn Songs of Tropical Birds”
As what often happens when I reach for a favorite book, my attention veers to random samples of those beloved pages. In the epilogue, The Appreciative Mind, Skutch shares a story about sensory overload when migrating birds filled the Costa Rica forest with sights and sounds.
“As I stood enjoying the incomparable spectacle of tropical nature in its blithest mood, my spirit, soaring upward toward the high treetops and the birds that flitted through them, lived and felt with rare intensity. In this exalted state, I began to reflect upon the immensity, in space and in time, of the forces and processes to which I owed my presence here, the multiplicity of circumstances that contributed to my enjoyment. A star that can contain a million earths was sending its rays through ninety three million miles of space to illuminate the woodland for me….without prompting or aid by me, the trees that soared above me had been slowly growing for hundreds of years before I took them under my protection. Some of the birds around me had made long and perilous journeys in order, I could almost believe, to grace my woodland by their presence… – More than this, sunshine, trees, birds – the whole great spectacle of nature – would have meant no more to me than a stone or clod of earth had I not been prepared by a long evolution to perceive and respond to them…”
“There is nothing to playing the organ. You only have to hit the right notes at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” – Johann Sebastian Bach
POR LA ESPERANZA – ‘de un Pueblo que se levanta’
18/08/2017 8:10 pm
Organista: Leisbert Moreno
Portoviejo – Manabi Province, Ecuador – Letty Quadrado, a dear friend from Jama and Portoviejo exclaimed, “Lisa! I live here, but you know more about where I live than I do! How did you know about this concert?”
With a smirk I replied, “A little inside information; the owner of the house I am renting is the person who has been repairing the organ for this concert!
I learned more over the past two days and stopped by the cathedral to meet the young maestro in person. He is not only dedicated to his music, but he has charisma as well!
So what inspired a young man from Portoviejo Ecuador to devote his life to the discipline and training to become an organista? The catalyst happened when he was a teenager; Leisbert’s father Pasqual Moreno played the organ in Portoviejo. When his father was sick and unable to play, Leisbert was the substitute!
The experience propelled him into new directions! Leisbert has been studying for three years in Roma/Rome and has also studied in Germany. He is the only professional ‘organista’ from Ecuador, and will be playing at 8:10 pm on Friday night/tonight in his home city of Portoviejo!
Friday night’s program – with Spanish titles – includes:
Leon Boellmann – “Suite Gothique”
Paul Barras – “Meditation Et. Cortege”
Johann Ludwig Krebs – “Tocata y fuga en la Menor”
Eugene Gigout – “Tocata en si Menor” Continue reading
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” -Paulo Coelho
Manabi Province, Ecuador – Years ago when making the commuter flight from Quito in the Andes to Portoviejo on the Pacific coast, I often studied the landscape below. After marveling at the beauty of Chimborazo poking through the clouds, I wondered about the lower elevations as the plane prepared to land. A large body of water always intrigued me, and I assumed it was ‘never-never land’ – perhaps like the Darien Gap swamp between Panama and Colombia.
“A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Several months ago, my friend Xiomara helped rekindled that interest when she mentioned she’d be working upriver from Portoviejo. Deciding to close the chapter of ‘Casa Loca,’ it was time to move forward, and many places held my interest. I had been combing the Province via Google maps in search of a quiet area with a good source of pure water – away from pollution and surrounded by natural forests. I did not want to make a temporary move, and I suspected that patience would be rewarded.
Scouting via Google Maps, I was disenchanted – and shocked – at the continued deforestation. Out of curiosity, I zoomed to the little hamlets where Xio would be working and was delighted to see that large body of water! We coordinated meeting when she traveled to the area, and while she was working, I scouted around, loved the extremely-peaceful vibe, and returned for a second day of exploring the area. The locals pointed me to the ‘Swiss cabanas’ which turned out to be so much more than simple structures! Continue reading
“I think the most important quality in a birdwatcher is a willingness to stand quietly and see what comes. Our everyday lives obscure a truth about existence – that at the heart of everything there lies a stillness and a light.”
― Lynn Thomson, Birding with Yeats: A Mother’s Memoir
My new home offers a serene immersion in nature; the birds – many of them new to me – stop by often, as if to pay proper respect to the newcomer. This post shares some of those birds – one species, if the ID is correct, appears to be quite special!
The RED LIST states:
Population: This is a poorly known species and no population estimates are available. It is considered generally uncommon.
Trend Justification: A moderately rapid and on-going population decline is suspected owing to habitat loss.”
And here is its range map: EBIRD-Orange Fronted Barbet
If you like birds, then scroll on down and meet more of the feathered members of the neighborhood!
“The Neighborhood’ is pictured below:
Home sweet home; this is the yen to Casa Loca, yet it also represents a total immersion in nature. It provides a perfect setting for the next chapter.
Look out the window:
“There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.” – Robert Lynd, The Blue Lion and Other Essays
There is an impressive buffer of natural and planted vegetation between the house and the lake. Would you like to walk down to explore the grounds with me? Perhaps we’ll see a few birds! Continue reading
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse
“Happiness, not in another place but this place… not for another hour, but this hour.” – Walt Whitman
“Today: Soak in what’s real and what’s real is unhurried. The ground. The air. The exhale. The planted seed. The shift. The season.” – Victoria Erickson
- Manabi Ecuador – “Poco a poco” – little by little, I have been weaning away from Casa Loca. Last year’s earthquake altered the lives of many, and my choices and opportunities have been more abundant than many of the locals’ options. With no sense of urgency, I allowed my own internal GPS system to guide me to a new place to call home.
About a month ago, after first scouting an area via Google Maps, I drove along various country roads, exploring with an artist’s curiosity. Great impromptu moments greeted me at each stop, and though I cherished the moments, I knew there was a jewel of a place waiting to be discovered.
Yes, I am in the process of moving, poco a poco, and I will spend most of this week moving the more difficult-to-transport items. I will not be online often, but will be writing offline to share more information about the new area I will call “Home.” I look forward to sharing the stories!
Enjoy the random images taken in the past month. I should be back online tonight. Continue reading
“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.” -J. Krishnamurti
Quito Ecuador – This past week Miguel, owner of Hotel Andino, sent an email to warn me to expect ‘something different’ for my one-night stay. When I arrived, Miguel explained that they were full with an out-of-town group of business people, but there was one option. He seemed hesitant, and I said that I loved surprises –“… Show me the space!”
We went into the main part of the house, and I wondered where in the world an extra room could be, and then we stepped toward a petite door located beneath the staircase. Like a child, I grinned and waited for Miguel to open the door. Continue reading
Remember those Q-tip arrowheads from last week? They are much more believable this week! Comparing the images, you can probably spot many subtle changes.
Ecuador — “I have a confession to make,” I said to my friends, “I did not give that little doll to a child in Jama. I kept it.”
My two friends looked at me and waited for the rest of the story.
“It represents the challenges we’ve faced over the years, especially the most-recent one. It will always connect me back to that day.”
“That day” started when I took the 7-hour bus to Quito to meet three friends. One would be leaving the country – hopefully with one of her precious little dogs if all of the hurdles could be cleared at the airport. Continue reading
“…Sweepin’ the floors, open up the doors
Yeah – turn on the lights, getting ready for the night …” – Rodeo Clowns by Jack Johnson
Jama Ecuador – Grand re-opening of Kahlua Discoteque – July 15, 2017
Heartwarming; it was absolutely heartwarming to witness so many people helping Fernando Cevallos Sabando prepare for the grand opening of Kahlua K 7.8. Equally heartwarming was seeing those same workers dashing home to clean up, change into evening attire and return to celebrate the many months of hard work. Everyone hoped that the community would be equally thrilled to stop by and show off their dancing skills!
Fernando asked if I would take some photos to help record this happy event; hopefully the following pictorial will transport you to Kahlua via the magic of cyberspace. Pick up a paintbrush or help carry the heavy items upstairs, and your cover charge is free! Pack your work clothes and your party clothes and prepare for a festive evening!
Don’t be bashful; step inside and join us! It’s ladies’ night – no cover for you gals who like to dance! Continue reading
“…Don’t they know that there’s something going on?
What they’re harming with their indecision
But who will be left standing when I’m gone?
There’ll be nothing left but a vision
It’s too easy to turn a blind eye to the light
It’s too easy to bow your head and pray
But there are some times
When you should try to find your voice
This is one voice that you must find today..”
– Lyrics from Above & Beyond’s song, ‘Miracle,” featured at the end of this post.
This song touches my heart in many ways. There are times when prayer alone isn’t enough; we have to become proactive, to learn to find our voice – to speak up, especially to speak up for those who have no voice – like our planet… There’s a July 10th deadline approaching for feedback about some of the USA’s National Monuments.
Just like adding a few cents to a piggy bank, our voice doesn’t seem like much, but when combined with a much-larger pool, our comments make important contributions.
Here’s one friend who has no problem finding her voice. Follow Rangewriter’s example: Throwing a Bomb at the Heart of a Nation.
Speak up and personalize your concerns here… Monuments for All
Ecuador – A search for lupine images took me back to a post, Twenty-One Wishes, which I wrote last year while helping friends in Mindo’s cloud forest. The title referred to the 21 shooting stars that blessed my pre-dawn hours in August. Seeing the post allowed me to reflect on images – from the handsome Black-Striped Sparrow to the lupines near Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak and to the memorial for my dear friend Marta. I also noted the comments, which were unanswered but greatly appreciated during that time.
Thanks to all of you who faithfully followed those stories during that 15-month period – especially when the earthquake hit – and I was offline most of that time. I apologize again for causing great worry when your queries went unanswered, until I was able to send a smoke signal that I was hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter. Manabi Earthquake -First Report
What burned strongest today when I pondered the post and the word ‘Wish,’ was a song by Trevor Hall called Wish Man.
Enjoy the story he tells before singing the song, and ponder, ‘What’s your wish?”
“Down by the bayou,
Down by the bayou, I saw
Good things inside you
Good things inside you, they call
Into my memories of old,
Tell me what you know!
I saw a man there,
I saw a man and sat down
I shook his hand there
I shook his hand,
he laughed loud
And put a question to my heart
A question, oh, so sharp”
I marveled at his story, as he could have ignored the man when asked, “Hey Wish Man, what’s your wish?’ – but he didn’t. He stopped and gave the man respect, which prompted a profound interaction – one that inspired a great song. Continue reading
“I spread out my map under a tree and made up my mind to go through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia to Florida, thence to Cuba, thence to some part of South America; but it will be only a hasty walk…
I wandered away on a glorious botanical and geological excursion, which has lasted nearly fifty years and is not yet completed, always happy and free, poor and rich, without thought of a diploma or of making a name, urged on and on through endless, inspiring Godful beauty.John Muir — The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913),
Like John Muir, I had a childhood dream, but mine was to live in Argentina’s pastoral Pampas region, painted so lovely in my fifth-grade geography book. I wanted to raise quarter horses and ride the pampas like those gaucho cowboys!
Those Mississippi-childhood dreams faded, though every so often I was wistful to live in the Neotropics, home to exotic botanical specimens I thirsted to see in person, where locals conveniently used large tropical leaves for impromptu umbrellas and where heliconias soared to the moon.
The road less traveled eventually delivered me to Central America and then Ecuador, places where the temperatures never dipped below freezing – unless I desired to visit the peaks of Chimborazo, Cotopaxi or other high-altitude landmarks that dot South America’s Andean spine.
There are times when I enjoy an eye-to-eye inspection of those exotic plants, and by capturing their likeness with pencil or water media, I discover minute details that otherwise might be missed. I always walk away with deeper respect for the plant and its support cast of companions.
There are times when I toss the scientific seriousness aside and allow the personality of the subject to emerge. These always bring great mischievous joy, as if freeing a personality that was trapped by a long-ago wicked spell. Most people can easily spot the human spirit in Ecuador’s Ceibo trees Ceiba trichistandra.
Presently I’m in the tropical dry forest, where for half a year the climate is humid with bi-polar rainfall, depending on moods of the nearby Pacific waters. The rainy season weans into the dry season, and many trees go into a dormant stage.
It is in this section of Ecuador’s coast where the gigantic Ceibo trees join forces with the much-smaller Palo Santo. These two trees leave lasting imprints on those who bond with the flora and fauna of the area.
‘What is that unique sweet smell?’ people might ask. Many times it’s the subtle aroma of a just-bruised branch of Palo Santo. The dried ‘holy’ wood is burned to repel mosquitoes as well as to clean a room of heavy energies or bad spirits.
Recently my friend Luchi and I began work on a painting of a Palo Santo tree, which grows along Ecuador’s Pacific coast. He presented some photos he hoped to work with, and we inspected two trees growing in the hostal gardens. I began the painting as he watched, and then he joined the painting session! Continue reading
Jama Ecuador – “Lee-sah,” my friend Nieve said when I stepped out of my cabana, “We were calling you and thought you were gone!”
With a bit of a shell-shocked gaze, I laughed and said I could hear nothing over the sound of the construction.
Just behind my cabana, workers have been working day and night on one of many ‘relief-house’ projects for those who are still living in tents. Ground shaking machines prepare the new areas before portable concrete mixers belt out their own source of background music. Workers tackle each house with amazing skill and seem to work in harmony, even if the noise level tested my patience.
Whenever I found myself getting frustrated about the noise, I reminded myself, “These sounds are like music to those who will wean from a tent to one of these houses.” Yes, if I had been living in a tent for over a year, those sounds would represent an upgrade in my life. Continue reading
“Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” Andrew Zimmern
Ecuador – As a child growing up in the Misssippi Delta, I was painfully shy and dreaded interactions with strangers. A loner, I thrived when roaming the outdoors, inspecting wildflowers along ditch banks or immersed in the dense canopy of the woodlands, where I might sit for hours in hushed tranquility.
I am grateful for young-adult opportunities of teaching art as well as speaking to groups as ‘A Gardening Artist.’ I realized that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and that unique threads connect us all. Slowly I grew comfortable with interacting with strangers, and now I embrace those opportunities to know my fellow man.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” – Rachel Carson
When the health of our planet suffers, we suffer as well. May we all take time to appreciate our natural resources and work together to be guardians of Mother Earth. She
will might survive without us, but how much longer can we survive if the delicate balance is tipped too far?
Join me via cyber visit to check on some of my favorite locations.
With painting supplies, boots and flashlight already tucked into my bag, I’ll be Yachana bound soon!
“Boots? Raincoat? Flashlight?”
Yes, because I am a seasoned ‘Girl Scout’ and know to be prepared, especially if I’m returning to the gateway to the Amazon. This time I’ll be even closer than I was on last month’s trip to Cosanga!
You must be wonderning, “What is Yachana; where is Yachana?”
Don’t worry for even one second that I will be treading in uncharted or unsafe territories! Continue reading
“Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed — chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. .” — John Muir
Thank you for your positive feedback on the post, In Celebration of Trees! The tree theme continues with a rollback to last March when my friend Barbara helped with improving the trails. We selected many nature-related quotes then had fun painting signs on rainy days.
Here are photos from last year’s signs:
“Hummingbird teaches us to transcend time, to recognize that what has happened in the past and what might happen in the future is not nearly as important as what we are experiencing now. It teaches us to hover in the moment, to appreciate its sweetness.” – Constance Barrett Sohodski
Barbara/aka Hummingbird not only helped with painting signs; she also helped transform some of the trails.
Before selecting a board for the John Muir quote, I tossed around ideas for illustrating the message then decided that a board was too small. It deserved to be a more-serious work of art.
The other creatures with which we share this world have their rights too, but not speaking our language, they have no voice, no vote; it is our moral duty to take care of them. – Roger Tory Peterson
Mindo Ecuador – Sentinels of our communties, trees posses a strong power. They plant their feet firmly and stretch their arms toward the heavens as if tickling the sky. Horizontal branches provide support for a child’s dreamy afternoon respite or a house cat or even a jaguar! In the Neotropics, trees provide a unique ecosytem, where bromeliads, orchids, vines and ferns provide food and shelter for insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, etc. The dense shade cloaks the ground with welcome relief from extreme heat. Ah, who hasn’t expressed gratitude when stepping beneath the canopy of a large tree on a sultry day?
One friend long ago mentioned ‘custom harvesting’ a tract of land, and he knew that it bothered me. He explained, “But the trees are going to die anyway, so we might as well harvest them while the wood can be used. ”
I mentioned the dead trees’ importance and reminded him that dead trees were important habitat for the presumed-extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker. “Where will YOUR chidren take their children to see a really-big tree?”
This past week while sorthing through old drawings and sketches, I paused when reviewing three or four pages of attempts to illustrate a quote. Then Rebecca Budd /Clanmother shared a quote about trees, which nudged me into bringing that sketch to life.
Those lovely sentinels watch over us, yet many times we forget to acknowledge their presence or worth.
Join me in this celebration of trees! Continue reading
Mindo Ecuador – Garbed in raincoat and mud boots this past Saturday around dark, I trekked past Mindo’s Catholic Church on my way to the market. Through the whoosh-whoosh sound of my rain gear and the drizzle hitting the roofs and sidewalk, a stronger much-sweeter sound brought me to a halt.
“Is that a violin?” I wondered, then followed the beckoning music until I stood in the doorway of the church. The church was empty aside for one lone figure standing to the side near the front row. In formal attire, perfect posture and with violin at his chin, he seemed like a mirage. Or was he a life-sized poster? No, that was a real person standing there, and his music was pure and sweet.
Captivated, I listened for a very short time, and decided that my presence was most likely an intrusion. I bowed slightly and backed away, all the time wondering who was this person and why was he in this empty church? I resumed my trek, bought my token items and returned for one more discreet glance before going home.
A second person was peering inside, and this younger woman and I exchanged mystified expressions. Who was this person, and why was he there? Continue reading
“It was amazing what an hour with her sketchpad could do for her mood. She was sure that the lines she drew with her black marker were going to save her years of worry lines in the future.” ― Victoria Kahler, Their Friend Scarlet
Cosanga Ecuador – Napo Province – See Map
The Pachamama Birding Group also brought treats for the teacher… Really really really-nice treats! Watercolor paper! Brushes! Sharpie Markers – not used ones like at my drawing table, but brand-new ones with precise points!!!! But that’s for another post. Check below to see the view from the table where I took a 30-minute personal timeout for art:
… While the ladies were out birding, the two boys and I sat on the front porch for an impromptu art lesson.
Please join me as they experience a fresh pad of drawing paper while they discover the magic of a well-sharpened pencil. Continue reading
The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance. – Jodi Picoult
Jama Ecuador – Every so often, void of pomp and circumstance, a large truck backs onto the eastern end of a small vacant block and unloads organized piles of boards, bamboo and roofing materials. The truck then drives away.
In December I witnessed this for the first time and noticed random clusters of people loading the materials into smaller trucks. One of the people watching over this process was one of Chana’s sons. I approached him, gave my condolences regarding his mother’s death (See Angels Watching over Us) and asked about the mystery event. He told me that a church from another area was the benefactor of these ‘kit houses’ – donated to those in the campo/country who were receiving no help. Feeling a bit like an intruder, I refrained from sticking my camera into the lives of strangers. With patience, I hoped to learn more when a more-appropriate time presented itself.
We are stronger than we think. We have emotional, spiritual and even physical resources at our disposal. We may get knocked down, but we don’t have to stay down.” – Steve Goodier
This month, my first time back since the December visit, I was again walking past when a truck unloaded another cluster of kit houses. I felt stronger, more ‘entitled’ to learn more in order to share this story with a larger audience. I took a few photos from the far side of the block then cautiously approached from a corner tangent.
“Leeee-SAH!” someone called from a mototaxi that was parked near one of the stacks of supplies. I waved, aimed my camera in that direction and wondered who was greeting me with obvious affection… I looked at the lady standing near a stack and thought, “I’ve never seen this lady before..” I smiled, asked her name, permission to take her photo and closed the gap between the taxi and me.
“Leeeee-SAH!” exclaimed a second person, one with an armload of boards. He stretched one of his long spindly arms with a heartfelt greeting. Ah.. the puzzle pieces were falling in place. His brother and father and I have many ties through various people. I think that the brother Carlos was in the room long ago when a mouse ran in my direction, and I screamed and flat jumped high onto a chair! They later commented, ‘You screamed like a girl.”
After a heart-warming reunion with the cluster of happy people, I was invited to go to the site where the house would be built. Yes, Giddyup! Let’s finish loading this truck and roll forward! Continue reading
“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How well do you know your neighbors; your neighborhood? If you live in a petite town, you probably know them on a personal level. Hopefully they are ‘good neighbors,’ ones who make you smile, and if they are lucky, your presence makes them smile as well! Once when visiting a friend in a larger city (in Mississippi) I asked about the next-door neighbors. He shrugged and said he didn’t know them. In disbelief I made some general exclamation but kept my stonger reaction in check. Just because a neighbor doesn’t extend the first token gesture — doesn’t mean that you cannot!
Challenging neighbors have sometimes dotted my past, but I eventually realized they had extreme personal burdens or wounds, which had nothing to do with me. By being neutral, many times I witnessed the softer side emerge. We as humans often don’t take time to consider how uncomfortable the other person’s shoes might be.
There are many people still in recovery mode on Ecuador’s earthquake-ravaged coastline. I’ve had time to walk slowly through neighborhoods and talk with friends, talk with strangers, and to marvel (and laugh) at children’s natural gift of inner joy. I realized that in good times we often don’t stop to exchange greetings with strangers, and in bad times, we’re so busy trying to survive, that we also forget that others are doing the same. In good times or in bad, we sometimes forget to take time to listen – truly listen… Continue reading
Jama Ecuador – This sweet token of affection was perched on my balcony this morning, and the Valentine’s Rabbit was still in sight on the grounds of Hostal Palo Santo!
She and her dear mother worked yesterday on arrangements for this special day. They set up in a little space near the center of town and graciouslly allowed me to take photos. Continue reading
“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” ― Abraham H. Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being
Jama Ecuador – Lots of stories and images are in queue here on the Pacific coast. There’s a very special bird sighting – awaiting confirmation on its identity, and there are encouraging stories of those moving forward, poco a poco now ten months after the earthquake. The rains have been heavy, and many streets are more dirt than gravel, so mud boots are almost mandatory in some towns!
What follows is a ditty that will explain why future correspondence might be brief!
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” Steve Jobs
With great pleasure, I’d like to introduce you to seven new feathered friends that have given me great joy! They can definitely be classified as ‘endemic” and are quite rare; they thrive in a very petite ecosystem in Mindo Ecuador.
Only one of these hybrid species has a name; the Purple-crested Puffball might be petite, but it is a bundle of perpetual energy. The rest are waiting for names, and I hope that some of you will help with suggestions!
“Art is the signature of civilizations.”- Beverly Sills
(Ecuador) Using my.yahoo.com as email provider home page, I view the most-recent emails, the 5 top news stories, news of Ecuador/Latin America, weather stats for specific locations, and science and arts stories. The custom page provides a quick summary of the day’s pulse when I log onto the internet.
One column features amazing works of art, and whenever possible I follow that link and savor Lines & Color’s ‘Eye Candy’... This week featured a black rectangle to illustrate a more-serious post. Please take time to read Charley Parker’s Lines & Colors Is On Strike Today –
From Lines & Colors: “…Yes, it’s a small, mostly symbolic gesture, but so are the recently announced plans by the incoming administration to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting…”
I pondered how to share my own thoughts regarding the importance the arts play in our world. The best option seems to illustrate with images from old posts, where art played a large role in bringing people together while introducing them to the magic of self discovery.
We’ll start in Jama Ecuador, where locals are still recovering from the earthquake. I am not sure if this tree is still there, but in the past, the whimsical art continued to smile at those who considered looking up…. Continue reading