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.
Earth day is April 22, a favorite day to me. The Earth is substantially more than just us humans. It is every little creature that surrounds us to bring our ecosystem in sync. Look at my cover photo carefully. You will see the tiniest little wasp.
Without bees, wasps and all insects we would not have flowers. We would not have pollination, we would not be alive on Earth. So when any of us use products from Monsanto, or any poisons we are killing the Earth. We are destroying the planet for future generations. These little insects that bother us are very important links to the salvation of the Earth. They are an important part of the chain of events that allow us to live on the planet Earth with water, air and food.
So when I take my photos of nature I always keep in mind that all of nature is intertwined. We humans are not superior to any animal or plant that lives in this Universe. Remember that when you see the ice melting, the water being polluted, and the fish dying in the oceans. We humans are the murderers. We are killing this planet with greed to make money. We are the ones who can stop this before it is too late.
Living in the forest makes for wonderful photo opportunities. The jungle is real in Colombia. The forest is dense, the trees seem impenetrable, the cloud cover comes and goes as I hike. A close-knit Eco-system of beauty that has to be seen in person to take in the three-dimensional quality. A step inside a real life painting. That is how I live. I am constantly amazed by the views I see when taking my tourists and adventurers out on hikes. It is like a Disney movie in 3D. Here are a few photos I have captured while on my hikes around Villa Migelita . They will never capture the beauty you can see when visiting Colombia, but hopefully you will be able to see how dense the forest is, how the clouds descend upon the mountains, and how I embrace my minimalist life. Nothing can compare to what I feel when I wander the mountains near my home and Bed and Breakfast Villa Migelita. I sense freedom from the hectic lifestyle of the Western world, I feel empowered as a woman who moved to a new country and often want to shout to the sky,”Look at what I have done! Look at how I live! Just look at this substantial life I have made for myself!” This is a tiny semblance of how I am touched when I roam the mountains near my Villa. Remember this: I spent many years wasting money on things that are not important to a meaningful life. Now I spend my time instead of money on things that are important: my quality of life and my love of nature. I just want to live surrounded by the clouds, trees, birds, butterflies, and the calling of nature to my soul.
Whenever I do these photo challenges I always look to my favorite subject. Nature. I can find magic every single day I step outside and look around. Sometimes, even in my house. The butterflies and hummingbirds have free rein in my house. In Colombia we leave our doors open in the main areas off the balconies. They enter sometimes, and I rescue them. The cover photo is the Owl Butterfly of Colombia on a wall in my kitchen. This video shows the encounter which was magical. Colombia has a slogan Magical Realism. The photos I am sharing will show this to be true. It is magical to live in this beauty.
A full moon over the mountains is enchanting no matter where you live. But there is something mystical about this picture that is a bit eerie in a good way.
Finally this photo of me on a trip to Bogotá is spiritual in a way that brings to mind otherworldly images. It was taken without any filters, nor did I use any photo shop. It just is one of those photos that when you go through your images you do a double take.
My cover image is an iguana that looks like it is an extension of a leaf from a plant. I believe it personifies how easily the light can change the way we see things. I only saw this iguana because my dog was barking. I went to look and there was this beautiful iguana.
When I hike the butterflies are everywhere. Sometimes you can miss them because they blend in with the nature around them.
A tree stump with the beautiful Blue Tanager of Colombia. The sun was setting and the flowers of Colombia are so brilliant, I could easily think this gorgeous bird was a bloom of a plant.
Then there are the actual flowers on my farm and bed and breakfast Villa Migelita. The way they grow so beautifully reaching towards the sun.
This photo of my dog Orion stretching is wonderful, you might focus on him and miss the landscape that is in the background, highlighted by the late afternoon sun.
Finally as the sun goes down at Villa Migelita itshines upon the ducklings, you have to look carefully or you could miss them in this picture of activity.