El Bastón del Emperador

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 7:17

This Spanish name of what English-speakers call “Torch Ginger” flower, “El bastón del emperador” has stuck with me from my first hearing of it. The English translation is “The Emperor’s staff” (or king’s scepter). And since most of the time I have at least one blooming in my gardens, it is a reminder of who my king is and my early pledges to follow Jesus as my life guide, ruler and “King” if you please. And what better “scepter or staff” for Him than a beautiful tropical flower! 🙂 Here’s the one blooming this weekend:

El bastón del emperador

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods

Psalm 95:1-3

¡Pura Vida!

My Flora & Forest Galleries

The Beautiful in Life

I always receive much inspiration from every walk up the hill behind my house . . .

Parroquia San Rafael Arcángel Church, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica seen from hill behind my house.

The Beautiful in Life

The beautiful in life…
Some talk of it in poetry,
Some grow it from the soil,
Some build it in a steeple,
Some show it through their toil.
Some breathe it into music,
Some mold it into art,
Some shape it into bread loaves…
Some hold it in their hearts.

~Bernard Meltzer

¡Pura Vida!

See my photo gallery of the main Catholic Church in Atenas.

And/or the WEBSITE of Parroquia San Rafael Arcángel

Note that I’m not a Roman Catholic but this church is the only one in Atenas that inspires me to seek God – whether photographing from a distance like above or up close from Central Park or going inside their beautiful sanctuary to just sit quietly and pray. I’m inspired by the architecture, the ambience, the tranquility, the beauty, their music and even the church bells ringing! I thank God for this Catholic Church!

Cows Upon A Hill

To describe part of my walk last Saturday morning early, I found this nice poem:

Cows Upon A Hill

There is nothing I like better
In the sunrise of the day
To see cows on the hill
It’s the perfect time to pray

~Marilyn Lott

The Costa Rica University Systems has a special agricultural university campus on the edge of Atenas and these cows I frequently see and like to photograph are a part of that student farm on the next hill over from mine. 🙂 Students study here from all over Central American as the best of Latin American agricultural schools! And they learn a whole lot more than just our local coffee farming! 🙂 And next door to where I live!

Cows Upon A Hill, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

See all four Photos . . .

Continue reading “Cows Upon A Hill”

My CANCER Adventure Book

Mostly my real time journal and blog posts plus photos and other information that is meant to be inspirational for someone else going through cancer, especially my specific Parotid Tumor Cancer with 68 pages and 87 photos, including a few of my nature posts during that time. 🙂

I also emphasize the value of nature in healing for me. And the title “True Grit” is explained in the book and on back cover, kind of funny! 🙂

You can see a free electronic preview at https://www.blurb.com/b/10778284-true-grit Or click the cover image below:

Me in front of Radiation Machine on book cover.

You can also browse through all my nature photo books while in the bookstore or click on Bookstore on the menu bar above.

¡Pura Vida!

Green Field

I’m back home for awhile and one of the first contrasts with the big city was the green field across from my house, seen here at ground level . . .

Grazing place for cows, hiding place for Fer-de-lance and a peaceful place for me!

And online I found a poem that expresses some feeling of my front yard “green field,” though I would never lay down in this one with the cow patties and snakes! 🙂

Continue reading “Green Field”

Age 107 and “My Abandonment” – Related?

This and Feature Photo at Top are Sunrise from Hotel Banana Azul, Caribe, Costa Rica

Many days an older women in a wheel chair is treated at Radioterapia just before me. The other day I asked the therapists how old she was and in unison they said, “107.” She’s obviously a fighter, still battling cancer at this age! And always smiles when I speak to her, though I don’t have her name or photo yet, I hope to one day.

In Costa Rica many people live to be over 100 years of age. Five areas of the world with a high concentration of people living past 100 are called “Blue Zones” (Wikipedia link), including one in the Nicoya rural area of Costa Rica.

The ingredients of health and long life, are great temperance, open air, easy labor, and little care.

~Philip Sidney

This 107 year old woman reminded me of the many motivations that led to my radical decision to move to Costa Rica in 2014 – including health and old age – while many Americans were questioning me “abandoning” the security, safety, and richness of the U.S. (though I had trouble “making ends meet” living there). 🙂

I spoke to this in my December 21, 2014 blog post (just 3 days before arriving in Costa Rica) sharing one of my favorite Thomas Merton poem-prayers which I repeat here as one example of my Costa Rica Adventure being as much about faith as it is retirement in nature:

Continue reading “Age 107 and “My Abandonment” – Related?”

Have You Ever Watched a Campfire?

Have you ever watched a campfire
When the wood has fallen low
And the ashes start to whiten
‘Neath the embers crimson glow

With the night sounds all around you
Making silence doubly sweet
And the full moon high above you
Just to make the spell complete

Tell me were you ever nearer
To the land of hearts desire
Than when you sat there dreaming
With your friends around the fire?

Author Unknown
Montgomery Bell State Park July 2003
Continue reading “Have You Ever Watched a Campfire?”

Almost Harmattan in Costa Rica

A Dakar, Senegal Mosque Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean — Photographed while in The Gambia & Senegal, 1999-2002.

A few readers know or remember that I once live in The Gambia, West Africa for three years with many experiences recorded on this same website found by following my AFRICA Travel Page links or going directly to pages for The Gambia and Senegal. I made both of the above photos in Dakar, Senegal.

I got one of my first shocks the first month there when I told the guards that it looked like a rain storm was coming from the north, even though it was “The Dry Season.” They laughed at me and explained that the first month of dry season was called Harmattan and was when the sand and dust from the Sahara Desert blew south and west and that we would soon be covered in dust and sand, thus close your windows. I closed them and it did not help much with everything in the little apartment covered in dust or sand. Incidentally, some years that same Harmattan blows part of the Sahara Desert all the way across the Atlantic to Costa Rica. Really! 🙂

In Costa Rica it is not called “Harmattan,” but we have a similar experience any time from late December to mid-March when the wind blows almost constantly and everything is dusty. It is not as heavy as West Africa, but it is for a longer period of time with just dust, not desert sand (usually)! It is worse if one of the volcanoes is erupting and we get the gray to black volcano soot like I’ve had a few times from Volcán Turrialba. 🙂

Thus when another WordPress Blogger posted this Poem by Danusha Lameris, I saved it to share right now during our “mini-harmattan” or windy weather or dusty season, none of which are titles Costa Rica brags about for our “Dry Season” (most popular tourist time). And incidentally, this years winds seem to be stronger and at night much cooler than the previous 6 Dry Seasons for me here. Now North Americans wouldn’t consider the low 60’s Fahrenheit cold, but that’s a “two-blanket night” here! 🙂

Continue reading “Almost Harmattan in Costa Rica”

Tree by the Pasture

Yeah! I know, it seems that I like every tree! And maybe I do, but this one by the cow pasture in front of my house is special I think because of its shape. Though that one little tree to its left sort of takes away from the shape 🙂 it’s still a neat tree!

The Featured Photo above is the broad look from the cow pasture with that tiny sliver of roof on the far left edge of photo being my house on the hill. The tree is the one in center of above photo to the left of the 3 big houses. And below is a closer view.

Big Green Tree by the Pasture.

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”

― Kahlil Gebran

¡Pura Vida!

My TREES GALLERY has all kinds! 🙂

FOUR MORE RECENT ACCOLADES FOR COSTA RICA

Described in the Live in Costa Rica Blog or here’s my quick summary:

  1. The #1 best country to retire in according to International Living Magazine (Again!)
  2. The #1 best country to visit or vacation in according to National Geographic for 2021.
  3. The highest inoculation rate against Covid -19 virus in Latin America with goal of every adult in the country!
  4. “Rumor” is that Costa Rica may host the 2022 Miss Universe Contest. A new convention center in San Jose makes things like this more likely, though final decision not made yet.

FOR ME? It is the Best Place to Experience NATURE!

🙂

¡Pura Vida!