Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Yes, this blog started as a “reporting” of my experiences of living “Retired in Costa Rica” and the first few years have lots of “how to” or sharing my experiences of the big transition to a legal resident of Costa Rica. Now that I’m a “Residente Permanente,” it is more of the experiences “flowing from my heart,” and the God I love, and his beautiful natural world that he created for us to enjoy and manage. I hope my current nature blogging motivates just a few people to help save the natural world all around this globe, to love it and to be inspired by it while much of the world’s humans are systematically destroying forests and all the nature within! Nature is the theme of my blog now! But I will not change the name because that is still who I am, a retiree in Costa Rica! 🙂
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
I remember as a child in El Dorado, Arkansas (14 miles from the Louisiana state line) walking the three blocks or so to a small city park with a little pond and being amazed at all the life and activity seen in just the shallow edges of the water and wanting to look at drops of that water through a microscope for the protozoa and other life a book had told me about.
WARNING: This is a longer than usual blog post but still with nature photos! 🙂
August 12 is World Elephant Day, a really very important day! Elephants will be disappointed if you don’t remember this one, because they always do. (“An elephant never forgets”!) Seriously, this day is for learning more about Asian and African elephants, smart creatures that are being threatened with extinction because of hunting and habitat loss. Learn how you can help at worldelephantday.org.
Also I experienced the total extinction of elephants during my 3 years of living in The Gambia, West Africa where both poachers and habitat destruction eliminated all of the elephants that used to live there. It is very sad. This is a serious World Day that needs lots of attention or there will be no elephants left world-wide. Consider joining one of the efforts to save elephants.
Amazon Kindle had a special on the electronic Tarzan books, all 10 of the original stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, for only 99¢ (1.08 with tax) and I grabbed them! 🙂 The early Tarzan movies had
a big effect on me as a child, while most of the later ones I did not consider as good and since books are almost always better than their movie counterparts, I decided for the first time in my life to read the original stories by the author. Glad I did!
I have finished the first three books and boy is it true that, in this case, the books are so much better than the old or new movies. It is hard to believe how cheesy some of those old movies were that I remember liking so much as a child! 🙂 You can watch most of the old Tarzan movies free online now. And the newer movies made up their own stories, ignoring the books!
Then last week I read a climate change article in The Washington Post that really “clicked” with me and merged with my book readings caused me to decide there was a definite “Tarzan Effect” on me in my childhood of Saturday matinee Tarzan movies and that motivated me to start writing again. I now have a new set of web pages under ABOUT on my website simply titled The Tarzan Effect. They share some of the ways I think Tarzan affected me for the better and at one point I even link to stories and essays on how he affected several other people including Jane Goodall who is reported to have said “I fell passionately in love with Tarzan — this glorious creature living out in the jungle doing all the things I wanted to do, and what did he do? He married the wrong Jane.”
All of us literally walked out of Africa at one time ancestrally and the paths taken greatly affect who each of us are. Because I participated in the National Geographic DNA Genographic Project I got a report on both my Maternal and Paternal paths out of Africa which are greatly different . . .
These photos were made in 1999-2002 in the Banjul and Serekunda areas of The Gambia, plus two in Albreda at the Slavery Museum near Juffre, the home of Kunta Kente of Roots book & movie. I believe these are the work of 4 different Gambia artists and most likely all were commissioned to do these public paintings.
READ MORE for a slide show of 8 different Street Art paintings . . .
Surely I’m describing Costa Rica and I could be . . . though this time it is the title of a documentary biography I found on my new streaming service, Curiosity Stream, that replaced Netflix for me, permanently this time with a whole year of streaming costing less than one month of Netflix (a stripped down version for Costa Rica).
The full title of this bio is Many Beautiful Things, The Life and Vision of Lilias Trotter. (Link to Wikipedia description) In brief, she was one of the world’s best unknown painters in water colors (late 1800’s to 1928) who was befriended by John Ruskin, the leading art critic of the Victorian era who promised to make her the “greatest living artist” in England. She repeatedly turned him down while continuing to paint beautiful nature scenes and landscapes simply to praise God.
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! 🙂
My last three years of working full time were in The Gambia, with visits to other West African countries like Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. Plus I made three two-week long trips to Kenya & Tanzania that included two safaris in The Masai Mara, meaning I have a lot of Africa photos! 🙂
Thus I self-curated 139 photos for a beautiful little 7X7 inch photo book titled Magical AFRICA in 102 pages with the hardcover edition including premium lustre photo paper. This is my first book of Africa photos in my Blurb Bookstore and is a general “Portfolio” book.
Click the above linked title or cover image and as always, you can thumb through the book electronically by clicking on REVIEW and pages to turn them.
Another COVID19 benefit of being limited from much travel during the pandemic! 🙂
“One cannot resist the lure of Africa.” – Rudyard Kipling
Some time ago I canceled my cable TV subscription and used the money for stronger internet service through which I occasionally watch a documentary or older movie from the Costa Rica version of Netflix (fewer titles than in the U.S.). Tonight (Wednesday) during my dinner of a pulled pork sandwich and cole slaw from Atenas Poco Loco (“To Go” or “Para llevar” here), I watched the BBC/Netflix movie The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, based of course on the book by the same title available from Amazon.com Books. I was so touched by the movie that I felt compelled to recommend it or the book written by the boy himself as a now adult engineer.
Having lived in The Gambia West Africa for three years, I of course related to almost everything in this excellent true story of a 14 year old boy in Malawi who had to drop out of school and help the family farm because they could not afford the school fees. In the midst of a common African drought the boy sneaked into his old school library and learned about windmills and thanks to his old science teacher’s device to generate electricity with the moving bike wheel he adapted it to a homemade windmill that generated enough electricity for a small pump to pump water from the well and irrigate the drought-stricken farm. I saw the life-changing effects of windmills in The Gambia too.
A moving family story with authentic African culture, scenery, and hardships. When I returned from The Gambia I often said that every American should live for 3 years in Africa to see what the real world is like. Well, this movie or book will give you a taste! I highly recommend it.
“Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.”
Maybe – or maybe not – just art that my second dentist (Ureña) likes or maybe a relative made. He has these in his lobby and 3 appear to be the same indigenous woman from behind but in different clothing and accessories. Whatever the story behind them, my first impression was good and I snapped photos with my phone. The other appears to be an early migrant from the Caribbean Islands to the Caribbean (Atlantic) Coast of Costa Rica, where most of the Afro-Costa Ricans live and have roots in Jamaica or other Caribbean Islands, originally brought here by Spaniards to work their banana and other farms. We have the largest Jamaican population outside of Jamaica. 🙂 Anyway, I think it is good art and I enjoy art!
“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”
And a local sense of humor at Tico Times Digital Newspaper:
Since all the people are staying at home, the native animals are reclaiming our Costa Rica parks, even Jurassic Park! 🙂 Or is that the lake in downtown San Jose’s Sabana Park?
Native animals return to Costa Rica as coronavirus forces humans indoors The Tico Times – Mar 21, 2020