The Brown Violet ear hummingbird looks like it has two black eyes when you see him on a branch. The light bit of purple is picked up by the camera. I love this little guy who keeps hanging around my feeders. I have only one. Perhaps I should name him? I certainly enjoy his antics, and I love watching him primp and preen. He is beloved by me, as all of my hummingbird species are. At Villa Migelita Ecolodge we have over 30 species!
I relate to the hummingbirds at Villa Migelita Ecolodge because they are spiritual beings that bring joy to my heart. They are representative of my daughter’s nonphysical form who now flies free in peace. I truly believe I ended up living in Colombia to be surrounded by hummingbirds. They lift me up with their presence in ways I can’t describe. The highlighted sentence above can give you much information about hummingbirds and how they have represented many cultures throughout time. I am blessed to have them year round at my hotel.
I know my daughter knew how much I loved them because every year we would go to Tennessee and spend almost 3 months in the Smoky mountains. When we would spot our first hummingbird we would be delighted. So even though she is not physically present, she is with me through my hummingbirds.
A series of photos that will make you smile. I always tell people living life in the countryside of Colombia is like living inside a painting. Photos cannot adequately display what I see in real life. Always a lot of color and beauty, along with views that literally take your breath away. The city driving is really crazy, but moving along the country roads exploring will take your breath away with the scenes that you encounter. Here are some photos of my life as a pedestrian along the back roads in the mountains.
What are the dangerous things I encounter living in Colombia? What to do if a cow escapes the fence? Or a goat approaches me while I hike? What should I do when the water is so high in the rivers? Or the rain causes a mudslide? Maybe I should really be scared when the ground shakes at 5AM! That is the most danger I encounter in Colombia. I love my simple life. I love it so much I am willing to risk the only real danger I have ever experienced while living in Colombia, tremors from Earthquakes deep inside the Earth. To be honest, I don’t know an Earthquake has happened until it is over. I guess if it was really bad, I would be crushed because it takes me, this woman from Florida awhile to comprehend. By the time I do if it was bad, I would be dead. I would die happy in my paradise.
I moved to Colombia to find myself, and I did. I felt stuck in circumstances that were harmful to me at the time of my decision to move. We always have choices. I had an ex-husband stalking my every move, and fallout from a bitter divorce. Then I realized I didn’t need to live the way I was living. I could find a better way. So I did. You can too. No need to allow anyone or anything to control your life choices. End of story. I am proof that another way to live is possible and just around the corner if you keep your options open.
What I thought about when I wasn’t searching for an answer to my life situation was unpleasant. I was wracked with anxiety about the future. My healthcare, my home which was being foreclosed on because of vengeful ex, my animals, my life in general. I needed to find a way to survive the madness of a time in my life that was my worst nightmare. With my decision to move to a new country came a freedom I doubt many people have. I live authentically. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me, I don’t watch posts on Facebook as they are never the real story. I just look outside my window as the hummingbirds fly around me for validation.
So how did I come to this place in my life? I will admit when my daughter was murdered by a drunk driver in the middle of that horrific divorce, I hit rock bottom. But still I got up and got going again, because that is who I am. I am not a person who is sedentary. I am an action person to the maximum I can be. I remember walking into my Pilates class a week after my daughter was killed while my friends and classmates looked shocked to see me. I had to go on. It is a choice one must make no matter your circumstance. You can choose to be sad and depressed or live your life. I decided to live. I am not happy all the time, no one can be. We have a life to live and with that life comes reality.
A life that may appear wonderful to others, can fall apart in a second! Too many people live their lives to impress others. I have learned I don’t need to do that. I live my life for myself only. I am a free spirit. I am an eagle in flight flowing through my current life with knowledge I didn’t have previously. I am a person who is alone, but yet very connected to others. I am happy to the best of my ability. No matter how many times I have erred in my life I am way ahead of those who do nothing to change their circumstances.
Even when you make mistakes during a turbulent time you can stand strong. How you react to happenings in your life is a definition of whom you are. I have discovered that being alone is often better than being around people who mean nothing to me but a night out. I love my alone time. I study Spanish, I write, I watch nature around me, I hike, I enjoy my animals, I appreciate my home and the views I see that would never have happened if I was still in the United States. If you really want change you will find a way. You will live your authentic life. I have done it. I will never say it is perfect. It is not. There is NO such thing as perfect. It is a myth. But there is such a thing as living authentically. I have found it.
These photos are from an incredible hike I took in a park here in Colombia called Quebrada Perico, near Buenaventura, Colombia. It is the definition of a quest and one of the most difficult hikes I have ever done. It is a climb up waterfalls, mountains and natural pools.
Adventure travel does not do justice to the beauty and bio-diversity of Colombia.All of the images above are from a day filled with memories and adventure. The country of Colombia is full of fun and excitement. Every department has so much to offer.
Edges are found everywhere in my nature photos. I focus on nature and animals. I have a Villa that frames my photos with edges in all my pictures. The cover photo is an example of Colombian life.The line of the walls, the roof, the beam and the walls frame the backdrop of the mountains and banana trees. Even the line of the coat rack that holds the hats exemplify life in Colombia
The edge in the photo above is the bamboo fence which is part of Colombian life. We use a lot of bamboo…you also can see the piece of metal with a frayed edge. We had a hole and we fixed it temporarily with a piece of sheet metal.
I love the photo above because it shows so many edges, again the fence is in the background, along with my stairs that go to my upper floors. the backdrop of nature shows what I see every single day when the sun rises. A perfect life.
The line of the swing in this photo of my old dog Colleen adds a bit of sweetness to a sad photo of my dog who had not long to live. This photo captures all that is good about her and her life with me. She could not walk well by this time, the angle of her front legs show this. Her eyes show all the kindness of her soul.
This photo encompasses a lifetime friendship of two animals that grew up together. They are both deceased now. I brought them with me to Colombia. They enjoyed their last years in Paradise.
A view from my Villa in the morning with cloud formations.
My rescue hummingbird has passed. It happened suddenly and without warning. Just a couple of days ago he was escaping through the slats of his little cage. He was so active. I had to put a mesh net around his cage so he couldn’t breakout and be killed by a predator. I am not sure why he died, but I knew he wasn’t well anymore. It happened so fast and I wasn’t prepared for it.
I have a cage coming from the USA and some additional food supply that hummingbird rehabilitation experts use. The wonderful thing that has resulted from his care is I will have a nice cage and products anytime I rescue any bird at Villa Migelita from this day forward. All of these products sent from loving friends in the United States and will be in remembrance of Grigio. When I put another bird in this new cage I will have his spirit guiding me. I know this with my heart and soul.
To say I am sad today is an understatement. I awoke to a table without his cage that I have looked at for over a month. The joy of removing the towels I put on his enclosure every night to find him moving and drinking his nectar of smashed insects and sugar in the morning is a wonderful and loving experience in my lifetime. The hope I felt that maybe, just maybe he would be my miracle.
I am sad, frustrated and of course I am blaming myself. If only I had added even more insects to his water. If only I had more resources available to me here in Colombia . If only, if only. I became very attached.
He was fighting to live to the end. His last breaths were in the palm of my hand. He was still charging his wings, which gave me unrealistic hope. I felt he could pull through this with my loving care. I watched as one eye closed but the other eye was wide open and staring at me. That eye kept contact with me until it closed with his final breath inside my palm. So tiny, so precious, so magical. I will never be able to describe adequately the joy he brought to me by being able to care for him.
I am surrounded by nature. I never know what is going to show up around me. It is a delightful way to live. I come from South Florida. I remember growing up in a middle class neighborhood with a lot of empty lots that all of us neighborhood kids would explore. Many a time we would come home with scrapes, bites or bloody knees. I love to reminisce about my times in the Smoky Mountains with my children every summer. I am a nature gal. I started young and I have never lost the wonder I feel when I see some new insect, bird, flower, views of the mountains, anything related to nature.
There is so much to be seen when you are looking for good photos. I am no longer the person who finds spiders creepy, bees scary, and insects gross. I find them all to be a much-needed part of our ecosystem. I respect all life. I wrote about my new rescue here at Villa Migelita in my last blog; a hummingbird who has a hurt wing. He is still with me after three weeks and that in of itself is rare. Hummingbirds need protein, which I hopefully am supplying by crushing insects into his sugar-water. It must be working because he is still alive. His wing is still unhealthy as you can see. But he is a fighter.
This spider is a common Cross Garden species..but I love this photo. He looks so intimidating.
What about the birds I see daily? Sometimes I am lucky enough to get a good shot. The wonder I feel when I see a rare Toucan still keeps me captivated. I never have my camera when I need it, but I get to enjoy rare sightings of many birds every single day.
Colombia has the most species of birds in the world and is the second most bio-diverse country in the world. I have settled in the perfect place to satisfy my nature needs.
Rare in nature can be completely defined by this one butterfly: Diaethria neglecta, a very rare phenomenon of nature.
When you visit Colombia, you never know what will show up. A Preying Mantis, an insect I have no idea what the name is but it is a flying leaf!
I no longer am afraid, I just wish I knew what they all did to help our planet. Because they are all part of a very intricate ecosystem called our world. We need to protect and defend each one in any way that we can.
Maybe he will live, maybe his wing will heal, maybe I will find redemption in his perfect little being. Maybe none of the above will happen. But I do know he wants to live. I have never cared so long for a hummingbird, except for one that was a tiny baby and you can read about that experience here.
This is Grigio and I am obsessed with his eyelashes. I never realized hummingbirds have them. He does. They make me melt with love. They move my soul. They are why I didn’t listen to the ‘experts’ and did what I wanted to do to help this young hummingbird. His eyes with those tiny eyelashes.
He was dead yesterday when I went to his cage in the morning. I am serious. He was dead. I pulled his lifeless body out from behind his little nest. He was on his back, legs in the air. He was not living anymore. I stroked his head. I told him he was a fighter, and then I detected a small movement. I was sure I was imagining it. I put his tiny beak to the feeder and he moved again. I knew he was coming back to life. One minute more and he would be gone, along with the hope that I attached to him. I will admit he means more to me than I can explain: but I will try.
To me Grigio represents a part of me that will never give up. He is me, I am him. He continues to live despite all the odds. I am like that myself. I am thriving despite the obstacles that are in my way.
I thrive despite the sadness of my past, I thrive from the lessons I have learned from life, I thrive from the delicate balance of life I have lived and the life of my future. I thrive despite all that is thrown at me. Just as Grigio continues to flourish. I do too. It is not something I think about, nor does he. It just is who I am. I am a fighter, so is he. Perhaps, this is a message to me from beyond. I believe in signs.
Grigio is pervasive, he is right there by me in the morning..he is my sign to fight for what I want to achieve. He is my symbol of life and perseverance. He is my light at the end of the tunnel, he is what I believe to be real. He is a miracle. I want to be a miracle to myself. Maybe, just maybe he will be that for me.
Looking up can bring you many images of beauty. Especially in my little pueblo in Colombia. I look up all the time because of all the bird calls. I always try to have my camera nearby to catch a video or photo of the many birds I see. Colombia has the most species of birds in the world. I see so many but I can’t always get them on film. The series above was taken while lying on the ground below the feeders…the images are not perfect but I like the way they show the spirit and spunk of hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are fierce little fighters!
Then there are the animals I always see on my hikes around my Villa. I am always photographing cows, goats, chickens and horses. They wander the mountains and streets grazing in complete freedom. It is truly delightful to see this when you visit Colombia.
Flowers and plants are always abundant here in Colombia. We have over 50,000 different varieties of plants and flowers. The colors are wonderful, and I don’t have to put any effort into any plant or flower to have them grow as the climate and soil allow flowers to thrive.
Most importantly I like the two words ‘looking up’, because that phrase brings good images to mind. In this world that is so full of suffering and random violence, looking up to see the sky, clouds, a sunset, nature and beauty can relieve us of anxiety; if only for a moment. So tonight when you read this take a moment to look up and see your sunset, or your stars overlooking the world and think positively. We must always save a little hope inside of us for humanity. Even when all we see is rampage and unresolved anger everywhere. Just look up and find the beauty around you, and let yourself feel the peace in that moment in time.