This butterfly is truly a part of nature that is so miraculous. The first time I saw this species Diaethria neglecta which can be found throughout South America occurs from Panama to Bolivia. I didn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. This is a window of the Villa Migelita Suite. We have a lot of butterflies enter when doors are open, also hummingbirds. These butterflies that enter sit for hours even if I open the screen to let them out. In Colombia the doors and windows are open all day. At Villa Migelita I do have screens on my windows in the bedrooms, but I also have some very old windows I chose to keep when I updated my Villa. My office window is very, very old. I do not have a screen on it. I have left it alone, along with the front door and another window in the main living area. As I look outside at the hummingbirds and the lemon tree they perch on, I feel peace.
There is nothing but photos to explain how wonderful my view is from the window I write at. I will leave you all with this video of all the hummingbirds having a great time feeding and dancing in front of my window. This is where I sit and spend much of my time when I am not entertaining my guests. Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I didn’t have this view to keep me at peace. I can go to bed feeling sad and then the next morning sit at my desk and see the natural beauty that surrounds me and all is right with the world again.
The other day I went on a journey with friends. We explored the mountains of La Buitrera de Palmira, Colombia near my Villa.
We drove around in my 4 x 4 Toyota truck stopping when we found beautiful views.
We ended up at a farm that is filled with so much organic and biological study of nature and plants. We were given a tour. There is a weather station for our area located at this super high altitude. When I check my phone in the morning this tiny little station lets me know the weather. I found it fascinating.
But then I heard them, the chorus of parrots that sound like angels to me. It is a sound you can never imagine unless you are right there. These parrots go over my Villa every morning around 5ish and return at around 6ish. I have always wondered where they go to. I found out. It was a moment of realism for me. Because I can only describe to you what it was like. I didn’t have my camera with me, just my phone which was out of battery.
I heard this sound of such beauty and noise, beautiful noise. Then I see them all flying to the trees on this farm much higher than mine at Villa Migelita. My question of 5 years was answered in a moment of them landing together in trees that were very near to me. They were green and they looked as if they were falling when they moved to lower trees. I was mesmerized. I couldn’t take my eyes away from what I was seeing. It was a first for me in Colombia. I have many parrots visit my farm, but this, this incredible sight was something that touched my soul.
So I watched without moving for at least a half hour. I will never forget this amazing spectacle in my life. But it even gets better. The cover image is the trees they were in while driving back home. The sun was setting and we had left this amazing farm with so much cultural history.
We were all talking about how amazing the elements were on this farm. It was an experience of a lifetime! Including holding a pot made by Colombian Indigenous people and of course the thousands of parrots. I am not exaggerating this at all, because my cover photo does not show the parrots but we were driving down and there were more parrots all in the trees with the sunset surrounding them. They were flitting about, and we were just watching from my truck. They were highlighted by the sunset, but not enough for any photo. They were snuggling each other, they were squawking, they were happy. They were free. That is the way it should be for all animals and nature.
So I can only describe it to you, this sighting of where the parrots go when they fly over my Villa. It was so wonderful, so fascinating, so amazing. Always in my memory and now I know where they go and live. Where the parrots nest. I will always be so happy so many parrots fly free here in Colombia, the way it should be.
I go to nature for unusual designs. This butterfly looks like it has been spray painted with a beautiful design. Or this butterfly has the number 89 on it’s wings.
When I moved to Colombia I found so much unusual, even an iguana which are all over South Florida! But here in the jungle they are rare to see, because they are in their natural habitat. They are around, but I don’t see them often.
So for me anything in nature that draws my eye is part of my life in Colombia. Life is nature here and nature is life.
I have my daily routine of studying Spanish when the sun is setting at Villa Migelita. I sit on my third floor in my sun room and I watch the every changing sky. It is magnificent. I have never enjoyed sunsets as much as I do here in Colombia at my own house. I have a clear view of Cali, Colombia which is an hour away and the Valle del Cauca. I watch the sky change while the lights of the city of Palmira and Cali slowly burst into my skyline. It is breathtaking. I also watch the 6 little bats that live in my basement come out and eat insects with the beauty of the sun going down. So enjoy some of my favorite photos of my sunsets over the years of living in the beauty of Colombia.
Sunset with my trees
A sunset rainbow
Ever changing views
Later in the day the sun was peaking through the clouds
A storm over the Valle del Cauca
The cloud formation with the sun setting is luscious
Last Monday I was on a road trip with friends and a Roadside Hawk hit my truck. The force of the impact was strong, a loud bang like a hammer hit the side of the truck. We looked back and could see this magnificent bird of prey in the middle of the highway. Immediately we pulled over, while we watched a motorcyclist stop to protect him from being hit by another car. Fortunately, one of my friends on this trip was a veterinarian! He and my business partner at Villa Migelita went to see if we could save him. He was in shock but fine. I will never forget looking at him up close. I have seen many hawks and have even photographed them, but in person there is no description of their beauty and splendor. The yellow color of the eyes, the talons which are so incredibly forceful. The cover photo is from yesterday on a hike locally by my Villa. This is what a Roadside Hawk looks like. They seem small, but they are not small at all. They are compact. For the rest of my life when I see one on a hike I will think of the life I saved. It wasn’t easy. I was worried until I could find a place for him. I realized the very first day I was not equipped to care for this bird. He needed specialists. Thank God for the group The Hummingbird Whisperer on Facebook!!!!
I was told the cage was too small and to put put him in a big dog crate . He calmed down and let his wings down after he was moved to the large crate.
I was also told I needed to feed him live food and put a huge water bowl inside of his new and larger home. Rats or chickens. I had never seen rats at the local area here in Colombia that sells agricultural products, chickens, fruits, vegetables and anything you might need for farm living and is called the Galleria. I went to the Galleria with my business partner and we found rats, and we bought two to feed him. I hate rats. I have cats to keep them off my property at Villa Migelita. But it is different when you buy them to send to their death. But I did it because this bird needed to survive and thrive. Don’t look at this video if you are squeamish. My hawk was hungry and this was a rodent. I still hated every moment of feeding a live animal to this hawk, but we did it and the rat was gone in 10 minutes! All the while we were looking for a place to take him to rehabilitate.
We found out that our local company called the CVC which is the water agency here in Colombia also runs a foundation for endangered and illegal animal trafficking. We called them and they said to bring the hawk to them and they would transfer it to the foundation.
On a side note to make you smile those damn rats ate through the box they were in and were running around on the bed where we set them. EWWWWW. We caught them and put them in glass jars with the lids that had holes. We had one left so we brought it with us to the CVC to feed this magnificent creature. When we got to the CVC they transferred him to another animal crate and I knew he was going to be fine.
This bird became a part of my soul. His eyes followed me whenever I would check on him. I thought it is no wonder they can see from so far away when flying free in the sky.
Some small part of me is in this hawk and whenever I see one again I will think of the life we saved.
This is a hard photo challenge for me because I want to say how fleeting life is, which is so cliché. How desperately short life can be, which is also so cliché. I want to wallow in the grief of my daughter’s death. How I search for memories now that it has been 7 years since she was murdered. What I go through every single day, when I open my eyes in the morning. How angry I am that the man who killed my daughter walks free due to a corrupt judge. I want to share to others how hard it is to accept a death of a child that was so senseless it leaves me weak with sadness. All the years that have disappeared like they never existed. I want others who have never had extreme grief to understand. It is difficult to let it go. I try, but I always have it there in my heart. So I just write my feelings down and I take photos of the this absolutely beautiful country that I live in now. Colombia. We have a lot in common. Death, senseless death, which is not something people can just let go of. We survive. We continue. But we remember. These photos are for my daughter, who fades ever so slowly from my memory. I still walk and meditate for her in all the beautiful areas right outside my door. It helps but it doesn’t keep me from missing the woman she could have become.
I am always hiking near my Villa . I can’t give an exact amount of days per week. It depends on my hair. Yes it does. I am after all still a woman who likes my hair and nails to be perfect, even if I live in the Rainforest. Yes, I am revealing something about myself. I usually walk on days I have to wash my hair. OH, so you think why do we need to know this? Because you do. I live in the forest. I am not always interacting with others. I like being alone. I like reading, I love writing and I love my space. I really love being alone. I worked for years as a flight attendant. I don’t care if I hear a bunch of people complaining ever again!
“Worry less about what you want to be, and more about what you want to do.” – President Barack Obama in Chicago today. I love this quote because it describes me and my life to perfection. I want to be successful in my small business. But if I am not I can accept that. I want to be immersed in nature as an avid photographer. I love getting up early and going out on my own with one of my dogs to walk and photograph the beauty that surrounds me. Photography is part of me. I am part of the photos I take on my hikes. I see people and talk to them. There is no such thing as a Colombian who ignores someone they pass, whether in an office, or on the street. Even if they dislike you they acknowledge you. I find that a wonderful way to live. What is the use of hurting others? With that I share some photos of my life around and about as an avid photographer and the life I lead as an expat.