(Ecuador – Jan. 31, 2015) Today’s Daily Prompt arrived as I traveled the 7-plus hours between Jama and Guayaquil. Michelle suggested, “Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of five songs that represent it.”
Ha! The week delivered disappointments as well as grand moments, but I managed to keep my sense of humor. On Monday/Lunas, I painted until noon, put away my paints and brushes, changed and waited for a driver to take me an hour up the coast to Pedernales. Rolando and I had talked on Saturday, and I told him about the floor project and the most important item needed was a non-yellowing varnish for floors. I said that I would be painting all day on Sunday and again on Monday morning and would be ready to go by “…1 or 2 o’clock…” He didn’t show up! Welcome to Ecuador! (Perhaps I absently said, “Martes/Tuesday” instead of “Lunas?”)
I shrugged; it wasn’t important, and I switched back to painting while watching the birds come home to roost. On Martes, I waited again, and at 2, decided to walk to town (5K) and glare at Rolando with the ‘truck taxi’ and watch his mouth drop when he remembered that he’d forgotten!
I enjoy the walks to town, and I inspect the birds along the road, in the al-garrobo (mesquite family) trees and in the shrimp ponds. This week I spotted the Peruvian Meadowlark, a species that’s been absent for months. About twenty minutes into my trek, a friend drove along at high speed, braked, backed up and gave me a ride to to town! As he resumed top speed on the gravel road, I didn’t tell him of my two-day wait for the driver! Instead I smiled after we all but broke the sound barrier and said, “Muchicimas Gracias!”
Instead of seeing Rolando, I spotted one of his brothers (they have a fleet of pickup truck-taxis.) He chuckled when I told him the story; we discussed the fare to Pedernales, my list of things to do there, judged the time, and he said if we left immediately we could be back before dark. I hopped in the co-pilot seat and said, “VAMOS!”
Squinting at the laptop, I worked on photos for National Geographic’s “Your Shot,” while peering out the window and occasionally snapping photos.
We returned just before dark, and he helped carry the items from the road to Casa Loca. I slept well and started Wednesday in painting mode.
My friends harvested a shrimp pond near the house, but I was very focused on adding details to the floor. I emerged from my painting fog around dark, looked out and noted that the pond was drained, and the trucks and workers were gone! Only the birds remained as they foraged the muddy bottom for shrimp.
I painted on Thursday morning as well; my high-energy painting sessions often correlate with strong rain, so I was not surprised when the sound of rain pelted the roof. The rains strengthened, and I noted one slow drip-drip-drip from the tin roof; I moved the potted ceibo tree beneath the drip and continued painting for another hour. That lovely one-plus inch of rain saturated the ground, but it also extinguished the electricity in this 7-house circuit!
The skies cleared slightly, and I painted until almost dark and photographed the details for Timeout for Art. With an opportunity to try out my new green mud boots, I retrieved my rain coat (just in case of more rain!) and walked to town in the late afternoon. Continue reading
There are subtle colors and explosions of colors in the Otavalo Ecuador area; one can sample the quiet hues of the landscape or take a giant immersion in the Saturday market in town. There are colors to suit all moods and personalities!
Let’s start with a leisurely walk in the mountains that overlook Otavalo. Continue reading
The third eye icon, often associated with the pineal gland and the sixth chakra, dates back to early Egyptian times. Long ago, the amulets represented protection, power and good health, and the designs were sometimes painted on ships for protection at sea.
Prompted by a desire to find creative ways to deter the neighborhood thief, I mischievously painted an all-seeing eye on the gate to Casa Loca. (An amulet from the treasures of King Tut served as the model.)
From New Zealand, Gallivanta shared an article that supports the theory that the All-Watching Eye helps to prevent theft. ( Bike thefts slashed by 50% at University after scientists install a picture of a pair of EYES above the cycle racks) ` I am hopeful that the giant eye on the gate will have the same effect on the shrimp farm.
While the monochromatic art transformed the gate, a second, more-serious design evolved in the studio.
When one focuses on a particular subject, more images seem to pop up in unexpected places. While showing students my museum/archaeology sketchbook, I viewed this old sketch (below) with wonder. I never realized how this tiny detail resembles the Egyptian-Eye Icon:
Compare the pencil sketch to the eye of the coconut head (below) which was painted about ten years ago. Continue reading
“Morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour…” and for a minute some part of us “… awakens which slumbers the rest of the day and night…” – Thoreau
Matt at WordPress tossed a morsel of a prompt, and since I had just reviewed the images marked, ‘Dawn,” I quickly opened a “New Post” page.
Sometimes I work on artistic projects all night and am brought to a stopping point by the sounds of the awakening birds. Viewing dawn on the river reminds me of how timeless this last bend of the river can be.
My most memorable dawn moments happen when I awaken around 4 and venture outside to witness the visual beauty to the start of the day. My senses are usually heightened, and with a strong attachment to the surrounding landscape, I try to capture that beauty.
Join me on a cyber walk on one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches, Playa San Miguel. We’ll start with photos from the awakening day photo from above: Continue reading
Summer – “The warmest season of the year, following spring and preceding autumn.” (Webster’s II New Riverside Dictionary” 1984)
Krista at WordPress prompted us to share images of ‘Summer Lovin”, and she mentioned southern vs northern hemispheres. I snickered and thought, ‘- Summer? What about those lucky ones who straddle the equator?! We don’t really have a summer on this part of Ecuador’s coast!”
After enduring Central America’s oppressive Pacific heat for eight years, I remain enchanted by Ecuador’s more-forgiving climate. Just south of the equator on the Pacific coast, the days and nights politely share 12-hour shifts; January escorts us into the rainy season (invierno), and the June solstice weans us into a dry-but-slightly-cooler verano, their version of summer. The low temperatures might bottom out at 70, and the highs rarely hit 90, although the sun can bite very fast! (This past week has been cool, and many people wore long sleeves in the daytime and jackets at night!) When the ocean breezes stop for a rest, and the temperatures rise, the nearby ocean offers instant relief!
My perch on the river is nestled between two rapidly-vanishing beaches; La Division is northeast from the river’s mouth, and Playa El Matal is southwest. The ocean stayed on its best behavior during mid July’s full moon spring/king tides, although another critical high tide will soon arrive in August.
Great illustrations of ‘summer’ can be found at Playa El Matal. As the ocean crowds the fishermen’s boats onto the road, the locals remain unruffled and adapt without any displays of frustration. Let’s go on a beach-inspection walk and search for a sour face! Continue reading
I’m back with another post for the WordPress Photo Challenge which states: “This week, share a photo that has a little something extra: an unexpected visitor, or a tranquil landscape with a splash of color…or find a photo with an added element that makes it an image only you could capture.”
(Quito Ecuador) – Returning home after fast trip to Ecuador’s Sierra, I spent many hours wading through an eclectic range of photos which covered visits to pueblitos, museums and even a lending library of books written in English!
The photos from the Crystal Palace included the flaming nasturtiums and geraniums as well as delicate pink hues of taxo – a new species for my eyes. Inside the glass enclosure was an impressive collection of soccer images from Brazil.
Stepping back outside, I took photos of the sweeping view of the city, but the camera caught something extra that I overlooked. Continue reading
(Ecuador) – Living totally immersed in nature, I am often treated to unexpected visitors from the wild! This week’s photo challenge is ‘Extra Extra,‘ and Michelle states, “This week, share a photo that has a little something extra: an unexpected visitor, or a tranquil landscape with a splash of color. A lone carrot in a sea of peas. Draw us in with a humorous detail, or find a photo with an added element that makes it an image only you could capture.”
I remembered this surprise moment from earlier this year.
Peering from its hiding place, Mr. Frog startled me one sunny morning!
Although frogs and geckos ‘creep out’ many of my female friends, they make me smile and are often used as models for some of my studies! Here are a few more unexpected guests that arrived with no warning: Continue reading
Krista asks on the WordPress Photo Challenge, “This week, share a photo of something that says “twist” to you. It might be that perfect ice cream cone, a yummy bit of liquorice, or something unexpected that surprised, shocked, or startled you.”
My sister Kate once stated, “Lisa, you never cease to shock me.” She was totally surprised by a package that a “complete stranger” hand delivered to their pharmacy in Monticello Arkansas – straight from Costa Rica, where I lived at that time! It was fun to send her a care package that was hand delivered by a just-met person from her town!
Payback usually rolls around, and Life continues to sprinkle unexpected tokens into my life; some of them have been good, and a few recent ones have been a bit shocking.
Many of you remember the story about the post-painting competition and watched the infectious enthusiasm spread through the community. Those original ‘first’ posts, replaced by taller posts, now gather dust in the electric company’s old-light post purgatory. (After stewing and incubating, I have a plan!) Continue reading
WordPress’s Photo Challenge for the week is “Work of Art,“ and I thought of this cloud-forest scene.
Between rains and mudslides and power outages, my friends and I enjoyed this end-of-day light just south of the equator near Mindo Ecuador.
Today finds me back on the Pacific coast, and the rains seemed to have tagged along! After an overnight at Hostal Ciragan, I’ll be home on the river later this morning.
See you on Thursday!
The Daily Post tossed out a challenge with four options this week; I selected this one: “Take a draft post that you didn’t published because it didn’t turn out as you expected. Change the story, revise it, and publish.”
I found two posts in drafts; one recent post from April 3rd stalled because of slow internet and low battery:
“…In today’s WP post, Kristin nudges us to, ‘Look out your back window or door — describe what you see, as if you were trying to convey the scene to someone from another country or planet.’
Most sources say that this song was written for Fogerty’s 3-year old son and was inspired a Dr. Seuss book. I’m quite pleased to introduce you to this cast of characters out my own backdoor!
Reaching back to a post from January 2013, I can finally release these birds from their cyber cages. May they soar from my back door round the world and lighten your day! Continue reading
(Near Volcano Chimborazo and Guaranda Ecuador)
My friends Hank and Marie trusted my recommendations and veered off the beaten path to view the lovely snow-capped Volcano Chimborazo. Beyond “Chimbo” was the quiet Andean city of Guaranda, our destination for the next few days.
Time slows while white-knuckle driving through dangerous cloud-shrouded mountain switchbacks. I had traveled that road ten years earlier, and at times I wondered if I had pointed us in the wrong direction! Continue reading
Manabi Province/Ecuador –
Yesterday while pulling tender rank growth in the shady recesses of the gardens, I noted an abnormal splash of electric color near ground level. Pausing for a closer look, this Zeebra allowed a psychedelic caterpillar to alter the next ten or so minutes of my day! Continue reading
Manabi Province, Ecuador
This past weekend I visited the fishing village of El Matal and found ample material for this week’s Photo Challenge of ‘STREET LIFE.’ On Saturday, the high tide washed across areas of the front street, where fishing boats trumped automobiles for use of the road!
First-aid options for the vanishing beach are tied up in red tape. Concerned locals watch as each wave brings the next spring tide a bit closer. How much longer will there be room for boats and autos? Continue reading
Jama Ecuador (Manabi Province)
Only one street back from the center of town, Hostal Ciragan provides a quiet respite – unless there’s an all-night fiesta nearby!
Mid-morning on Saturday, I walked down the quiet street near Ciragan and pondered my good fortune to have my health, happiness, and many talents to keep me happy; I also felt lucky to have a large support system of people who care about me. I noted wild tobacco in bloom near the sidewalk, and then I noted always-smiling Ramon painting the sign to the hostal! Continue reading
Manabi Province – Ecuador
As if to announce a change in our ‘rainy season’ drought, this sunset cast an eerie glow across the entire landscape. Still muddy from early February rains, the river seemed to bounce the colors back into the sky. That night the heavens soaked the parched earth with an inch of rainfall. We received another inch of rain the following night.
A similar color returned to the end-of-day skies three days later. My friends were draining the shrimp pond, and the surreal colors played well against the lone canoe. Continue reading
Almost twenty years ago, a friend sneaked this flamingo into my gardens in Natchez, Mississippi. Kathy’s calling card moves with me, and it still triggers a smile. Presently it watches over a young ceibo tree that was rescued from the blade of an excavator.
The pink flamingo proudly watches over this assortment of flowers in honor of Ailsa’s travel theme, PINK!
My my my! Views from my windows this week reveal society in the front and side views! Because the large boulders are unstable, I sometimes fear for the safety of the fishermen. Last week a sense of foreboding washed over me when I saw three young boys fishing from the rocks. I insisted that they leave, and that night, the rocks fell from that very spot! The next day slightly-older fishermen were there, and one refused to leave. Sigh.
Views from my windows also revealed a large orange surprise that might offer another explanation for power outages! This orange surprise will be working here for a few weeks.
The orange tree-gobbling monster also has a tag-along work crew: Continue reading
DHL’s international search for Diablo Huma confirmed that he reached Miami; shocked at the absence of end-of-year muencos, he inspired his cabin mates en route to New Orleans to help make miniature effigies.
Handing them out on New Year’s Eve on Bourbon Street, he quickly took cover at the stroke of midnight when the fireworks inside the burning effigies began to explode!
Diablo Huma evaded the massive manhunt by hiding in the darkest corner of the DHL warehouse! A week later, he peered from behind the long-forgotten orange and black crates of Halloween candy, Continue reading
In contrast to the previous post, Hello Cruel World, this one features the carefree awakenings of butterflies. The above emerging butterfly is one of many showcased at the Mindo (Ecuador) Butterfly Gardens, where one steps into a magical world of colorful butterflies and equally-colorful flowers.
Witnessing the chrysalis of butterflies awakens a childlike wonder, and I recall a private showing several years ago on the deck of my home! Even though the drab-colored caterpillars stripped the foliage of the passion fruit vines, they later rewarded me with with an unforgettable beginning to my morning! Continue reading
WordPress Photo Challenge theme this week is Beginning, and many images jumped into my mind. Short and sweet, here is one of a very tender moment in Costa Rica:
This little turtle will slowly reach maturity in a dozen or so years, when it will return to its beach of origin to play its role in breeding and keeping its species from becoming extinct. Thanks, all of you who helped the Eastern Hawksbill Turtles win the competition’s grand prize! Ingrid and Alex were thrilled that the turtles’ cheering section kept them in the lead!
For more information about the nesting, hatching, conservation and dangers facing the olive ridley sea turtles, see this post: OLIVE RIDLEY SEA TURTLE.
Happy New Year! Z
“The heart is the thing that matters, the mingling of the heart with the heart of the wild bird:to become one with the thing I see.” Walter Anderson
In late June, when I mentioned Walter Anderson, (Timeout: Happy in Nature) many of you had never heard of him or his brilliant and diverse body of work. Anyone familiar with his paintings and story would probably say that the birds were his favorite subject. (Anderson/Ocean Springs Mississippi 1903 -1965)
At times the birds on the river have such a profound effect on me, that I often compare my experience to Walter Anderson’s joy for the birds. Once while using a friend’s kayak, I paddled up river and eased into a rookery tucked within hearing distance of my house. Continue reading
Alisa’s theme this week is Birds! I smiled when I read her post, and I knew there were a few worthy shots from the thousands of images on my computer! Before pushing off from Point C to return to B and finally home to A, I present to you a collection of bird images from the middle of the world! Continue reading
The Daily Prompt rolled through, and while tapping into a fast internet signal, I am pleased to share this post that illustrates contemplation.
I remain impressed that many Ecuadorians practice the art of contemplation through the game of chess, and they take time to mentor the younger generation.
The children of Playa San Miguel Costa Rica often contemplate the mysteries of their marine ecosystem. I will always treasure the memories of the day an olive ridley sea turtle came ashore in the daytime to lay her eggs.
* Thanks to those who are actively helping (via easy pain-free voting!) the turtles catch up with the frogs; the frogs and turtles are swimming, crawling and leaping towards a $20,000 prize! Some out-of-the USA people hit a stumbling block with the zip code requirement. One found a way around the problem by using her sister’s USA zip code. “Save the Frogs” remains in first place, but let’s help those endangered turtles come from behind and win in the final stretch!
(Please vote for the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative )
Thanks for spreading the word! Z
So this morning before going downstairs to resume work on the compass, I took my paints to the balcony to splash more colors of the sunset on the wall. Never in my five years (on this river) have I seen this giant of the sea swimming in front of the house, but there it was – bobbing as if to ask, “What took you so long to see me?!” Continue reading
Playa San Miguel Costa Rica — Every so often Mother Ocean flexes her muscles and reminds us of how small we really are! These high tides barreled up the beach, through the palms and scattered this group of wave watchers! Continue reading
From a cybercafe, I am tapping into the archives for images that show the evolution of a palm-thatched structure. This particular “ramada” adds much-needed shade from the equatorial sun, and it also provides shelter from the rain and mud during the rainy season. Continue reading
This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Focus; “…For this challenge, get out there and take a picture demonstrating the concept of focus.”
Each week I photograph the progress on the compass design (painted on concrete floor) from several vantage points, so with pleasure I present the almost-finished design from many-different angles.
Because this is a floor, I keep asking myself, “Lisa! Are those little bitty details really important?” Continue reading
The art of hammocking in Ecuador rivals another art, that of idyllic gazing from doors and windows! Slow your pace and absorb the surroundings, and most likely you’ll find a set of smiling eyes peering from a window or doorway! Smile, and they return a twice-as-radiant smile!
How could I NOT share these door and window moments to compliment the previous post about hammocks? Continue reading