December 24, 2020 is my 6 year anniversary here! But the first Christmas Card was sent before I left on Christmas Eve 2014 as a combination Christmas Greeting & Change of Address Card, thus 7 cards+ since I’ve designed two for some years. In fact, this is the second one for this year! 🙂
I’ll tell you how the sun rose, a ribbon at a time. The steeples swam in amethyst, The news like squirrels ran. The hills untied their bonnets, The bobolinks begun. Then I said softly to myself, “That must have been the sun!
Charlie Doggett Photo of sun rise on the Central Church of Atenas, Costa Rica.
NOTE: Today’s photo makes 8 days of blog photo posts all from the one morning walk of photos last Thursday, 10 December, a week-a-go today. And I had prepared all 8 posts by Friday afternoon the 11th. I don’t always do a week’s worth at once in advance, but glad I did this time as I have other projects I’m working on. Starting next Monday I will be doing daily blog posts one day at a time, reporting at least a portion of that day at Arenal Observatory, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica, My Christmas Treat Trip! 🙂
Like the hills yesterday, I never tire of trying to get a better photo of the Atenas Central Catholic Church, especially from the Roca Verde hills, so here’s another one! 🙂 The official name (en español) and website link is Parroquia San Rafael Arcángel.
The cluster of palms in front of the church is the Central Park which has been closed since March because of the pandemic, as has the church for large crowds, just open for solo prayers and small groups distanced and masked. Costa Rica has taken the pandemic seriously with national mask and distancing required, no large gatherings and strict restaurant rules, though unfortunately many restaurants have closed permanently for a lack of business. A sad time for many people world-wide. But the central church is still a symbol of hope for many. And fortunately Costa Rica has fewer cases of COVID19 than any other Central American country.
And some trivia . . .
Most Catholic Churches face west so worshippers are facing east towards Jerusalem. I haven’t put a compass to it, but have been told that is the case here. In Costa Rica it is also tradition for most central parks to have the central church on the east side of the park and on the west side of the park, opposite the church, is a Banco Nacional, the main national bank in Costa Rica. That is the case in Atenas and Alajuela I know and in many other towns when I’ve thought to check. Hmmmm . . . is that elevating money? Sounds more like the U.S. 🙂
Well, maybe TMI – too much information! But I find it fascinating living in a culture that I did not grow up in and thus notice little things like these and I love living here! For more pix of just Atenas, see my Atenas Galleries and CR People, Fiestas & Arts (mostly Atenas).
“Let the villages of the future live in our imagination, so that we might one day come to live in them!” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Some mornings I just walk the circle drive over the hill my house hangs on the side of. Near the top in just one spot, directly above my house, is this view of Atenas, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica – the tranquil little coffee-farming town where I’m living out the rest of my life, Retired in Costa Rica! The town slogan is Mejor Clima del Mundo, “The best weather in the world!” A subjective opinion of course! 🙂
I love walking up and down my hill and the others around me, even if they leave me winded sometimes! 🙂 And when I take my camera (in addition to the cellphone) I can zoom in on things like our village church or the cows on the next hill over! It’s fun! And one of these new views is from my terrace and living room! (The feature photo) And of course these were made a few days ago with sunshine before the hurricane rains started. 🙂 Yesterday’s post of cloudiness was what I expected more of plus rains, but this hurricane did not have a lot of rain like the last one. It is partly overcast and partly sunny today.
CLICK an image to see it larger:
“There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.” —Charlotte Eriksson
Just the views are a reason to walk even if no birds or flowers! 🙂 The cow pasture is across from my house, included to show you how much higher the grass is in rainy season. All other views are from my street just up the hill from my house. And people have similar views all over Costa Rica! One of many reasons I retired in Costa Rica! Pura Vida! 🙂
Margaret, the lady birder from Canada who was in a nearby casita for one month, did most of her birding right here in Roca Verde, including uphill above my casita and on Calle Nueva, the country lane alongside Roca Verde. (She also walked to other neighborhoods in town and had a few trips away, including to Rancho Naturalista & the Tarcoles River.)
But her finding so many birds here got me back into more birding where I live and beyond my own garden where I have no feeders now which has reduced the numbers. Friday morning I spent an hour walking up and down the hill above my house with the result of the following photos of vistas and birds.
Not bad for less than a 200 meter walk from my house! And I know I have already shared similar views and birds on this blog before, but each new time in the viewfinder is a little bit different perspective, a different light, a different pose or action of the bird, and a new joy for me! No new bird species this time, though the immature Blue-black Grassquit was my first immature version of that species! Notice how different she looks from her mother or some other adult female Blue-black Grassquit in photos above. 🙂 I loved the walk and will keep doing it occasionally!
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
Central Atenas seen from the hill
Central Atenas seen from the hill
Farmland adjacent Roca Verde
Cattle on the next hill
Immature Blue-black Grassquit female
Adult Blue-black Grassquit female
Clay-colored Thrush (dark version)
Clay-colored Thrush (light version)
“I love walking because it clears your mind, enriches the soul, takes away stress and opens up your eyes to a whole new world .” – Claudette Dudley
One of the things Heredia is know for is The Toucan Rescue Ranch, which is actually in a suburb, San Isidro de Heredia, which like so many other such places in Costa Rica was started not too long ago by someone dedicated to wildlife, and all the animals that recuperate from injuries or whatever to a level of independence are released into the wild.
After class today I had a quick lunch of something other than the rice and beans I’ve been having here 3 times a day and took a taxi to the rescue ranch for a pre-scheduled “Educational Walk” at 1:30 that lasted until nearly 3:30 and my taxi was waiting on me when finished. Plus a funny thing about the tour, there were 14 people on it with 5 of us from Atenas! Two retiree couples from Atenas were there, plus me. I have met both couples in the past but don’t really know them – another one of those “small world” kind of things! 🙂
Birds at Toucan Ranch
San Rafael Church
And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:
Until about a year ago it was sitting on this hill (photo below) east of Atenas along Ruta 3 but so far away you could hardly see it (the white spot on top of hill). At some point the property owner decided he did not want it on his property anymore with people climbing over his fence to see it, so the parish took it down, freshened it and added some color and installed it in the church yard by Central Park Atenas – the feature photo at top. Or for better photos:
On the Facebook page for Parroquia San Rafael Arcángel, Atenas, Costa Rica there is a photo album for the Virgen de las Rosas created after it was moved to the church with much better photos than mine!
A taxi driver here is called a taxista and there are all ages and all kinds of taxistas with virtually all in Atenas being very friendly and very helpful. I don’t call just one driver, but the dispatcher and get a different one most times plus in the line downtown I always accept whoever is first in line – just seems fair! And most of the taxistas know me now and some mimic my southern drawl in saying my address (which many know)“Ciento cinco Roca Verde por favor.”Of course I don’t notice me saying it any different than them! 🙂
Occasionally I get this one man who is one of the oldest in one of the oldest cars and the only one who is always playing Mexican Music on his car radio and enjoys being kidded about it. Well, the other night I got him after eating at Poco Loco and I told him again that I like his happy music! (Pleased him!)
Since the route he chose went right by Escuela Central (public elementary school), I asked if he would slow down or stop for me to photograph their Christmas tree at night. (I’ll include in a future post.) He stopped. Then when we later got to my house and I was getting out, he said, “Whoa, whoa! Necesita fotografié mi decoraciones.”He took me to the back window of his taxi for this elaborate manger scene packed full of many farm animals across the back shelf of his car along with Christmas balls and tinsel. Not a good photo with street light above, but an interesting story & man! 🙂