Fire, Earth, Air and Water

There comes a time when you have to try something new…even if it’s just once! So when my blogging friend Nancy over at TwoTrails One Road included me in her challenge on the four elements I thought it was a good time to have a go. Many philosophies have their own way of interpreting these elements but here we are given a chance to choose a photo to represent our own. It also gave me a chance to look through photos and remember interesting places I have had the good fortune to visit.

While this interpretation of FIRE may be a little predictable  it’s the shadowy figure walking by that brings me pleasure:



When I think of EARTH I always marvel at how, when we treated properly it can provide us with such riches. This photo I took of a village out collectively farming in Rwanda is the one I chose for its simple harmony:



Across a windswept veldt this windmill in South Africa represents such a benign harnessing of the energy of moving AIR…it reminds me that there are so many ways we could find power while doing less harm:



As the spring is starting to return to us here in the North and the snow and ice melts and the WATER once again starts to run it makes me think of renewal. How the world wakes up from the winter but also how the predictability of the seasons and our natural elements is very vulnerable unless we change our ways:

More water



Posted in Environment, Photography, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 41 Comments

A Little Spring Cleaning

International Womens Day 2012 was when it all began with my first modest foray into the blogging world. Not many of you would have noticed back then when I nervously posted this introductory piece:

Well not quite nervously but perhaps ‘perplexed’ would be a better description of my mood. Why do I want to bother and would anyone actually read it? Did I have anything worth saying or anyone I really wanted to say it to? At first playing with what to me was a new format was satisfying enough. But soon I discovered an interesting community and I’ve stayed for the other nice bloggers I’ve met along the way.

My format however has pretty well stayed the same – comment, photo in the middle, comment and I’m feeling like a little ‘spring cleaning’ is in order for my 3rd anniversary.

Canadian spring

Canadian spring

So I’ve signed up for ‘Blogging 101′ to see if there are any more tricks to be learned because, let’s be brutally honest here, I can’t even figure out how to do a hyper link if that’s what it’s even called! I’ve watched with envy as my blogging pals seem to move on to fancier things and I’m still technologically stuck at where I began.

So with the duster poised metaphorically in my hand I’m ready to go after the cobwebs in the corners of my blog…and some have grown a little large!


Posted in Life, Photography, Thoughts | Tagged , , , | 59 Comments

Turn Right at Jesus

Was it turn right at Jesus or was it 100 metres north of KFC? These aren’t existential religious or political questions, I’m simply trying to find my way to the Guayabo National Monument. It’s always fun trying to get around in Costa Rica when you’re used to actual addresses.

Turn right at Jesus.

Turn right at Jesus.

Ask someone their address and they’ll say something like ‘100 metres east past Coca Cola, red door’.  Or how about this, for a popular new restaurant I tried to find: ’75 M Oeste Del Blue Valley, Oficentro Trivium’. Or ‘ 1st blue gate past the guanacaste tree’!

There are some very developed cities here and I’ve found those locations somewhat easier to find. After all, they usually involve a church or fast food outlet or lots of people to ask…it’s the ones in the country where blue seems to be a popular colour for a gate that often baffle me.

50 metres south of the blue gate

After driving through heavenly countryside with clouds below us and many a hairpin turn we did eventually find Guayabo and it was worth the drive…so I guess it was ‘turn right at Jesus’!

Clouds rolling in

Guayabo is a partially uncovered archeological site which appears to have been inhabited from 1,000 BC to 1400 AD  and was used for ceremonial purposes. We walked in through the rain forest on the slopes of the Turrialba Volcano – still active as of this week.

Ruins from above

There below us lay precisely placed stone mounds, platforms, aqueducts still running into stone pools…

Ancient pools

and a road so sturdy it would make the Romans envious!

Ruins ground level

Apparently there are networks of these roads still to uncover and given the state of many roads in Costa Rica they should study them carefully for tips.



Posted in Life, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Travel | Tagged , , | 49 Comments

For the love of horses.

Sitting outside on a balmy Costa Rican morning I sip coffee and think fondly of the horse I’ve left behind in the cold. Some of you may have met my boy Romy in previous posts – he brings me much joy and tranquility but he’s not very portable.

Merry xmas from Romy
It was bitterly cold in Canada last winter and while we had a slower start this year it’s a polar express to the deep freeze once again. So here’s the thing – I can get away for a while but Romy can’t… now it’s not that he doesn’t grow a big winter fur coat every year – he’s downright teddy bear like…and he has a cover for really bad days and can chose shelter when it’s especially brutal. But if you had a choice between riding at minus 23 celsius (without the famous windchill)…

Winter riding

…or plus 23 celsius with a warm breeze in your hair…

Riding on top of the world!

…what would you do? Well, me too…but please don’t tell Romy you’ve seen me with another horse!

Posted in Horses, Life, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Travel, Winter | Tagged , , , | 38 Comments

Some dry thoughts

On a recent fun trip to Palm Springs in California for their film festival I couldn’t help but be disconcerted by all the contradictions around me. I get a kick out of the kitschy, excessive side of these desert communities and the Palm Springs film festival is world class.

Gate and palm trees

California is in the grip of a seemingly endless drought though and the rivers and aquifers  that are usually replenished by mountain snows haven’t flowed for a number of years…the occasional violent storms just wash away soil and can’t penetrate the solid, dried out earth. And wildfires roar through more frequently than ever.

Joshua Tree and snow mountain

Yet here in these desert communities with the highest concentration of rich people and golf courses in the United States, the gated communities are as green as a rain forest.

Watering 1 Watering 2

Looking out from the San Jacinto mountains you can see what was once a small oasis in the Colorado desert, stretching green for miles around as the ever depleting Colorado River is piped in to keep the lawns watered. What is wrong with this picture?


Green for miles

For some relief from the glitz of the Coachella valley towns we hiked in the Joshua Tree National Park in the nearby Navajo Desert.

Joshua Tree view

This is a 500,000 square acres of desert beauty that has remained relatively unchanged for many thousands of years. Here too you can see the effect of the drought as mountain streams have dried up and no longer run. It’s the perfect place to contemplate the contradictions all around us.

Moon over golf course

So as the moon shines down over a Palm Springs golf course on a winter dawn we’re still left to wonder…what film am I seeing at 1.30?


Posted in Environment, Life, Photography, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 42 Comments

A Little Peace on Earth

Christmas bow

This is a time of year that often becomes a little frantic. When things get a little crazy, when there seems to be too much going on, my beloved will say ‘why don’t you go to the barn for a while?’ And even though it seems impossible, even though the drive seems too long or the day too short, I almost always know he’s right and do it anyway.

Ivy on a path

And life is suddenly simpler, my dog Ivy hunts never-found rabbits, the chickens always want more food and the horses frisk me for apples and carrots and nothing else matters for just a little while. My horse Romy nickers his welcome call and peace descends as the world becomes a less complicated place.

Merry xmas from Romy


Wherever you find your Peace on earth I hope you get to spend some time there and may we all find that place in our lives.

Solstice shadows


Posted in Horses, Life, Photography, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Winter | Tagged , | 43 Comments

The Stragglers

They arrived in the night and I heard the commotion outside the window but didn’t need to look out – I knew what was happening. In the early morning my suspicions were indeed confirmed as I stood with my cup of tea, looking out the window…they were stragglers rushing south a little late, with a cold wind behind them urging them on.

A brilliant red dawn light brought their shapes into focus on the pond.

Rising sun

Ivy could hardly believe her eyes as the sun rose and she watched them rest for the next leg of their southbound flight. Why had they waited this long?

Ivy watching

They took turns resting while some patrolled the perimeter on guard for that coyote hoping for a big meal before the freeze sets in.

Better resting geese

They built up their strength all day and as the light began to fade they started to move out into the water and form little groups.

Better geese getting ready

As the snow started to fall the calls went up from the leaders, who beat their wings to inspire the troops to get off the ground and be safe from night predators…then so unlikely because of their weighty bodies they started to rise with such majestic grace.

Geese rising


Geese in flight

They circled once over our house, calling encouragement to each other and then with their V-formation pointed south, they were gone.

Geese above

They were just in time since the very next day the pond looked like this…

One day later

Hurry back because that will mean that it’s spring again!

Posted in Environment, Life, Photography, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Winter | Tagged , | 54 Comments