I’m again working onThe Complete Fairy Tales and Stories of Hans Christian Andersen (link to Amazon Kindle version, the translation I’m reading), a long and sometimes boring or cumbersome 1800’s book that is an unusual mix of old-fashion fairy tales, Danish history, religion or Christian pedagogy in about 200 short stories about animals and people and in the ones about just people he seems fixated on both death and young men who want to marry “above their station” and never get their true love (pauper boy falls in love with a princess, etc.). I haven’t gotten to The Little Mermaid or Frozen yet! 🙂 I haven’t liked all of his stories and prefer the ones with talking animals and nature like the one in which I found this inspirational quote the other day . . .
It’s the last two sentences of his story titled The Toad. This toad has been trying to find the proverbial “gem in his head,” going through different aspects of nature and other animals when he decides to go toward the sun . . . then the story-teller concludes with . . .
“No, the light is too intense; we do not yet have eyes that can see all the glory God has created. But maybe someday we will have such eyes. That will be the most wonderful fairy tale of all, for we ourselves will be part of it.”
~Hans Christian Andersen
And the feature photo at the top of this post is of a Masked Tree Frog at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Resort, San Ramon, Costa Rica. Of course neither frog is the one Andersen wrote about, but fun illustrations! 🙂
Hans Christian Andersen reminded me of another favorite quote with a similar perspective on nature . . .
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”
A sunflower photo to show my support of Ukraine during this attack by Russia.
FYI, I made this photo in 2012 in the Historic Buena Vista Neighborhood of North Nashville, not far from where I lived at the time. Yes, I have sunflower photos from Kansas, but I preferred this one! 🙂 Praying for the success of Ukraine in stopping Putin!
Or I sometimes say “Leaves & Nature Things” for photos from nature that I consider “The Art of God” or just “Nature As Art” which was the name of my photo business in Tennessee. These shots from my recent Maquenque Ecolodge visit are some that I consider “art” along with the landscapes already shared and of course the birds and other wildlife! 🙂 It is all art to me! One shot here for the emailed version of post, then a slide show of 10 more . . .
Of course there’s more photos and even more wildlife I haven’t shown like the White-nosed Coati and more butterflies, but I have them in the Christmas Trip 2021 Gallery, so check it out if you want more! 🙂
This was another favorite rainforest shot from Cristal Ballena that also includes the sea, so I just had to add it as my last post on that trip. As you can see, the rainforest not only surrounds the hotel, but flows all the way down to the ocean and the national park beach. It’s a beautiful place that I enjoy visiting and will probably go again someday. Now back to shots from my garden, the neighborhood and the little coffee farmers’ town of Atenas. For awhile anyway! 🙂 I’m trying to schedule a one-day waterfall trip and then in February I’m back to a tree house at Maquenque Lodge, Boca Tapada. 🙂
“If man doesn’t learn to treat the oceans and the rainforest with respect, man will become extinct.”
I finally figured out how to get to historical statistics on my WordPress Blog/Website, wanting to see what kind of nature photos more people are interested in. Well, it was not my nature shots in 2021 but the posts labeled “Cancer Update” that all had over 200 readers or “hits” with none of my nature posts over 200 except the weird exception of an old one on a Truck Centipede. So THANK YOU for being interested in my health! It has been a long slow recovery still in process but I am so much closer to “normal” now and I was quite active on the last trip. I see my oncologist tomorrow and hopefully not many more times needed after that. 🙂
There have been 3 nice sunsets in a row now with the rain subsiding. This is the Dec.25 Sunset and early tomorrow I head back home in Atenas with an interesting flight from Palmar Sur to Drake Bay and then on to San Jose with lots of photo-ops! 🙂
I will be sharing more photos from this Uvita visit over the next few days. There is so much photography inspiration in the rainforest! 🙂
The family that does “Two Weeks in Costa Rica” blog/newsletter has an article about what Ticos do during the holidays which is also “Summer Vacation” from school for all ages with graduations the middle of December and the start of new school year in February. Thus lots of “family vacations” during this time, especially the week between Christmas and New Years when many businesses and factories, etc are closed. The beaches and mountain lodges are full of Ticos that week! Everything is already festive by December 1 with many decorations up and special meal preparations started. Read about it in the Two Weeks guy’s article:
2020 Monkeying Around on Christmas Eve at Arenal Observatory where I will be again next Christmas or 2022. Good lodges like this one are booked solid for Christmas a year ahead. I just made my ’22 reservations.
Today is a National Holiday which until last year was on December 1, but last year moved to Monday to provide another long weekend so locals can go help the struggling tourism businesses. 🙂 Read this year’s Tico Times Article on a very important holiday!
Former President José Figueres Ferrer abolished the armed forces in Costa Rica on Dec. 1, 1948 following the end of the civil war that brought him to power. The decision was ratified in Costa Rica’s new constitution, adopted in 1949. And thus December 1 has been celebrated since then as “Army Abolition Day” until last year when the government moved another holiday to the nearest Monday to facilitate another long weekend. 🙂 Important to Ticos! 🙂
Read about how our Peaceful Country has this year gone 73 years without an army on the CostaRica.org website or heralded by Unesco as the first country to abolish its army. Or read about how our National Public Police Force provides protection and safety for Costa Rica in this Wikipedia Article. Truly an amazing place for a pacifist like me! 🙂 ¡El país de la paz!
Starting tomorrow I am going to share some of my favorite bird photos out of literally thousands of over 350 species of birds here. It has been very difficult to choose just a few favorites. I started with 40 and whittled it down to 21 and gave up after that, so over the next three weeks I’ll be sharing 21 bird photos of 21 different species of birds found here, introducing the species, including a link to the eBird description, a link to my gallery on that species, and I’m writing a “Backstory” about each particular photo I’m sharing. It seems that there is a story behind every photo! 🙂 I hope you will find it interesting and revealing about Costa Rica for both nature lovers and birders! And oh yes, the two bird photos in this post did not make the cut for a feature, so they decorate this post! 🙂
I’m working ahead on the series and trying to make each blog post a visual work of art as well as a valuable chunk of information about a bird species in Costa Rica, including where I found it and which lodge I stayed it. I trust they will become valuable tools for future visitors and new expat residents of Cost Rica, starting tomorrow with the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal!
Update on My Health and Latest Cancer Report
First, I recently had the same CAT Scan (called TAC here) they did to diagnose the cancer and it shows me totally cancer-free after the surgery and 7 weeks of radiation. That is good news!
Now the effects of the radiation still have not all gone away and usually do not for about a year for most patients, meaning I may be “normal” by next July. 🙂 The left side of my face & neck + the left ear are all still swollen or enlarged somewhat. That is normal the first year. My smile is almost “normal” now, not totally lopsided on right side only as after surgery. I will always have to deal with my left eye not blinking or being able to fully close. I use eye drops two or three times a day and wear an eye patch most of the time except for about 3 hours in the morning.
I am still low on energy or tired a lot, wanting to sleep more and that is normal for the first year they say. My taste has partially recovered though not totally and they say that can take as much as 6 months to a year to fully recover, so I’m much closer to normal there! Though my appetite is still not high and my weight is still lower than before. I drink an Ensure protein shake once a day to help keep me healthy and otherwise try to eat healthy.
Mentally/emotionally I am fine and generally have a positive attitude about life regardless what is happening. So in short, I’ve made great improvements and I’m overall feeling very well, just not planning as many activities as before. Plus at 81 I needed to slow down anyway! 🙂 And these new series of blog posts using past photos is one example of how I’m slowing down while remaining creative. But I will be adding new trips and new photos, just not as frequently now! 🙂
¿Cómo estás? – ¡Total bien! 🙂 That’s how most people answer here regardless how they really feel! 🙂 The positive and helpful attitudes of Costa Ricans is also healing to me! I’m so glad I live here now!
The response to yesterday’s blog post “Verdure” has been good and of course that older English word refers to the “green” in nature. One response caused me to look up quotes about “green in nature” and there were so many good ones! I limited myself to sharing just three:
“For still there are so many things that I have never seen: in every wood in every spring there is a different green.”
– J. R. R. Tolkien
“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”
– Pedro Calderon de la Barca
“Nature in her green, tranquil woods heals and soothes all afflictions.”