My daily nature post was earlier today with the skipper butterfly – now a personal update from cancer surgery & radiation therapy, plus the coming week that I’m excited about. 🙂
As we say here in Costa Rica,“Estoy mejor poco a poco.” I’m better little by little. Most of my taste has returned after losing all of it from radiation. Food is not quite as “tasty” as I remember it being, but so much better now and I can eat almost anything. And my swallowing ability has also greatly improved if not completely normal now.
I still need to sleep long hours at night and sometime nap in the day with not near the high energy I used to have physically. But again it is so much better than it was at the end of June! And I’m still having to accept that being 81 years old might have a little bit to do with my lack of energy or physical ability now. 🙂
Overall I am feeling so much better than I was going into that July trip, plus this trip will be to flat land with no hills to climb! And generally a more “laid back” or relaxing place than my July mountain-top experience! 🙂 Plus right now I’m planning on no tours or side trips, just relax in the forests and beaches of the hotel which I overview below if you read on after this 2019 photo from there . . .
In many ways, YES! And in more than one place I have used the following Tolkien quote in relation to my nearly 7 years of continuous exploring the most magical place on earth to me – Costa Rica!
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
I just finished the Wingfeather Saga of four books where Andrew Peterson created his own imaginary world called “Aerwiar” and, like Tolkien before him, created this imaginary world before he wrote all the stories so that the places helped shape the stories. I don’t know if Lewis created Narnia before his stories, but as a best friend to Tolkien, he probably did! 🙂 And I can assure you that Costa Rica was created long before me and shapes all of my stories! 🙂
The Wingfeather Saga started off a little slow but ended with a powerful impact on me and probably most other readers. The many places within his world of “Aerwiar” not only influenced his story but also how we the readers react to it. You can easily say the same thing about Narnia and of course the most powerful sense of place in the make-believe world remains Tolkien’s “Middle-earth” that people still study and the fantasy of it keeps readers coming back for more!
But to me, the best fantasyland of them all is the real country of Costa Rica! It has greatly influenced not only my blog reported adventures here but how I’m living my new “pura vida” daily life in Costa Rica. In some ways I’ve tackled this country the way the Hobbit Frodo approached Middle-earth and how those children approached Narnia & Aerwiar; all with a sense of awe, adventure and purpose! I think it’s the way to approach all of life, wherever one lives! I just think it’s easier in a magical place like Costa Rica! 🙂
And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
As with any good coffee farming town, Atenas is in the hills below the big mountains and away from the plains of the big city of San Jose. Yesterday as my taxista drove me back home from a doctor appointment in the city, I cellphone-snapped these photos of the approaching hills as we neared Atenas. No great photos but they bear testimony of the terrain of my little pueblo.
“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”
NOT business for me! So maybe “Calling” Card is a better name? 🙂 It’s my easy way of sharing my contact information.
The one I’ve used for years had one of my Keel-billed Toucan photos on it and I have been in the “Red-eyed Tree Frog Mood” for awhile now, so decided to change to this shot from Danta Corcovado Lodge 2018 that I used on my Christmas Card last year. I order these cards fairly cheap online from VistaPrints. None of my contact info has changed, just the look:
Calling card image – part of the tropical magic of Costa Rica! 🙂
In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.
When I searched my old photos, all made before moving to Costa Rica in 2014, I quickly chose 125 photos without even going through all and decided to stop looking. Then I made cuts down to 40 photos that had “the right light” and I considered “extraordinary” and still too many! 🙂 I arbitrarily told myself “No more than 20!” (hopefully fewer) and the last cuts were the most difficult! 🙂 So forgive me for doing a post with 20 photos, but the chosen ones are all below in a gallery where you can click an image to see it larger. The feature photo in the header is my favorite Clouded Leopard shot from Nashville Zoo and this sample below for the email recipients (who have to click “Read More” to continue) is one of many extraordinary shots from 2 safaris in the Masai Mara . And these are not necessarily favorites but seem to fit in these two locations. 🙂
From my “Merriam-Webster Word of the Day” email today:
And this is the effort or goal of my body right now, much longer after the radiation treatment than I expected, as my trip the last week of July showed.
For the rest of the year I have only 2 trips, both very relaxing places that I have already explored, so I plan to truly “take it easy” in September on the Caribbean or Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica in maybe my most relaxed hotel here, Banana Azul. I have reserved “The Howler Suite,” like a tree house on the second floor with a large private deck overlooking the forest and the beach where I plan to hangout more this time, with my “hikes” limited to beach walks and I may even use room service for some meals in my room and use the in-room Jacuzzi this time! 🙂 I was “too busy” the last time there! 🙂 Maybe read two books this time!
Christmas week I’m back on the Pacific side at another favorite hotel, Cristal Ballena in Uvita, overlooking the bay of whales and the “Whale’s Tail Beach” (feature photo at top) along with a lot of birds right outside my room and with even better food! As much as I love where I live, I function better with a change of scenery every couple of months or so. And I believe both these places will help me immensely with my continued efforts of “Resilience” after cancer! 🙂
“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”
As much as I hate to omit it, I was not well during my week on the Osa Peninsula, still tired or low on energy with limited taste due to 7 weeks of radiation treatment and not my usual “gung ho” self! I chose to not talk about how I felt and I still got a lot of photos, and some are pretty good in spite of my limited mobility on the trails (I fell twice). You can find my efforts in the Photo Gallery, under Costa Rica TRIPS, or click the seascape image below or this web address: https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2021-07-22-28-Bosque-del-Cabo-Osa-Peninsula
“Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.”
Feeling tired is a common experience. It can be caused by disrupted sleep habits, a change in routine, or the appearance of stressors in your life. No matter the reason, tiredness can push us to our limits emotionally and mentally. In some cases, extreme tiredness sets in. This is called exhaustion.
Or in my case, I think I was just doing more physically than my healing body was ready for. When I finally got home Wednesday night, after a delayed flight and 7 days of hiking up and down hills through the rainforest, I collapsed in my bed and slept for 11 hours! Of course I had errands to run yesterday and then today I’ve just chilled, not leaving the house, with laundry my most strenuous activity. 🙂
I still recommend Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge, but now add the disclaimer that it is an “active place for healthy people” that requires a lot of walking just to and from your cabin, not to mention all the trails and other activities, etc. My cellphone said I walked more than 14,500 steps one day – which normally is very good! But I was not healthy enough for that, not fully recovered from cancer treatment. But I will be soon! And by the September trip to the Caribe, I expect to be my normal active self, enjoying more walks wherever I am. 🙂 Pura vida!
“If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.”
― Hal Borland
And oh yes, more photos yet to come from this trip!
Some of you know that I prefer traveling solo; maybe it’s selfish or maybe it’s the results of 20 years of marriage. 🙂 I also enjoy eating solo, reading my Kindle or just observing what surrounds me. Occasionally in the informal lodges people invite me to join them at their table and never wanting to offend, I often accept. This group from Florida asked me to join them on the second night and I think I told them I would, but for dinner only, since I liked to read at breakfast and lunch. They have also invited others to their table like this couple from St. Thomas with a teen son. It’s been interesting as long as I ignore political statements! 🙂 Our waitress made this image on a couple of our cellphones for us last night.
Like pretty much everywhere in Costa Rica (except San Jose) all our meals here are open air, just under a roof because of mucho rain! 🙂
I got here in time to dump my stuff in my cabin before a delicious lunch that I was able to eat all of! Yay! 🙂 It’s overcast with some scattered showers but I explored the trails a little and scheduled 4 activities this week with the rest of time exploring on my own! And the 4? Well, boring old-man activities compared to some available here: Morning & Afternoon Birding hikes in 2 totally different locations, a sunset/night hike looking for night creatures, and a morning Primary Rainforest 3-hour conservation hike. The rest of the week is photographing a lot, resting, and finally eating real food for a week! My radiation taste is not totally gone, but greatly improved and I’m eating just about everything now! 🙂
I’ve seen a Crested Caracara (on the road here), and here: lots of Scarlet Macaws, lots of little birds not identified and a family of Spider Monkeys, all by my thatched roof cabin. And I’m looking forward to happy hour snacks before a great dinner. There are about 25 tourists in this lodge (from all over the world including children), which is not bad with Covid still raging around the globe! And it is a 45 minute drive (fording streams) from the primitive landing strip in Puerto Jiménez to the lodge or if you must, an 8-hour+ drive from the San Jose Airport.