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.
Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world and already has set aside more than 25% of its total land as either National Parks or Biological Reserves (one at a time). On National Park Day this year (August 24) the park system opened a new reserve in celebration of the nation’s 200 years of independence. Read the whole English article in Tico Times or here’s the summary Introduction:
Reserva Biológica del Bicentenario de la República – Pájaro Campana, a name which invokes the country’s upcoming bicentennial, is located in the canton of Coto Brus, Puntarenas.
The reserve covers an area of 5,075 acres and borders La Amistad International Park, which is shared with Panama, and Las Tablas Protective Zone.
Its forests house biodiversity of scientific and conservational interest, and its rivers supply drinking water to communities in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone.
“These areas become natural laboratories that promote research, for proper management of the protected wild area,” said President Carlos Alvarado.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
There are many reasons that the United Nations gave Costa Rica the “Champions of the Earth” Award.
Costa Rica was the first tropical country to stop and reverse deforestation. It has managed to produce about 99 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, a rare accomplishment even among the wealthiest nations. And in 2019, it became one of the first countries to craft a national decarbonization plan . . .
When I saw what the photos looked like printed on plain paper, I decided that I could not let my photos go out looking that bad. The other book is no longer available in my Bookstore, replaced by this more expensive book printed on Premium Lustre Gloss Photo Paper for a totally different visual experience! Generally the public does not buy any of my photo books, but rather I order them to give to the lodges or to individuals as gifts. But just in case someone orders one, I want my simple photos to look their best! 🙂 And yes, you pay for it! 🙂
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.”
Definitely the most seen animal at Bosque del Cabo and maybe all over Costa Rica, this tropical cousin to the raccoon (and there is a Crab-eating Raccoon here also) was seen scurrying around the lodge facilities and in the rainforest along all the trails. He digs in the ground looking for grub worms and other little goodies to eat. 🙂
And this was the only mammal other than the monkeys already shown that I got photos of, though I saw a Peccary and a Tamandua Anteater (bad photo). I was surprised to not see any Agoutis and had hoped to see a Tayra. Check out these 5 shots in the below gallery . . .
Though I was not fully recovered from my cancer treatment, was low on energy & strength, and simply an 81 years old man with weak knees, I still got shots of 18 species of birds while at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge, Matapolo, Costa Rica last week. With better health and strength for more hiking, I’m sure I would have gotten more species photographed. Notice that about half of these were photographed off the lodge property and that is because my guide knew that birds are easier to photograph from an open road than in the dense rainforest. But even then, half of these were photographed on lodge property! 🙂
That’s one sample photo, now go below to the full post and gallery of 18 bird species, two of which I include both male & female because they are so different . . .
If you are anywhere near my age you may remember a childhood game where, usually boys, would claim a high-spot in the land or an object as “The Mountain” and one boy stand on it, declaring himself “King of the Mountain.” And though there may have been rules, it was usually brute strength that made you ‘king.”
That is exactly what was going on between this Yellow-headed Caracara and Fiery-billed Aracari. In this photo (overcast day & bad light) the Aracari is diving at the Caracara with his much bigger bill. And though the Aracari took over the top perch of the tree at one point, the Yellow-headed Caracara came back with his much stronger claws or talons (much like a Hawk’s) and remained the dominant “King on the Mountain!” 🙂
Though not one of my highest bird count locations, even on the Osa, I did get photos of 18 species of birds and will do a post later today or tomorrow featuring them with just one shot of each. And if I go there again, I’ll make sure I’m healthier and able to actively search for more birds! 🙂