“Tucked away in the lush northwest corner of Puerto Rico, about 50 miles west of San Juan, is one of the island’s best kept secrets; the Rio CamuyCaves. The cave system, which gets its name from the 13-mile-long Camuy River, forms the third-largest cave system in the Western Hemisphere. The process that created the caves started almost 160 million years ago when a great limestone plateau was thrust up from the Caribbean Sea to form the western half of the island. Over time rainwater and wind eroded the surface of the plateau forming large sinkholes and rounded hummocks called magotes, characteristic of what we now call ‘karst’ landscape. The process of erosion continues today, helped along by the dense vegetation that blankets the region. Some of this vegetation produces carbon dioxide which, when absorbed by rainwater, forms a mild carbonic acid which further dissolves the porous limestone.” – Going Underground by Michael Defreitas.
In photography, the “golden hour” is the first and last hour of sunlight of the day. Photographers venture out on sunrise hikes or sunset treks to capture a magical shot, due to the quality of the light during that time of day. It is sometimes referred to as “the magic hour” especially in cinematography. Film director Terrence Malick has used this technique in films such as Days of Heaven, The New World, and The Tree of Life (in the case of The New World, the entire film was shot in this hour or blue hour); and film director Stanley Kubrick made extensive use of the golden hour in Full Metal Jacket, among others.
Picasso said, “You don’t make art, you find it” and while I realize his words had another meaning, that is just what we did. Today’s Daily Prompt could not have been better timed for me. In our recent hunt for a new home we looked at many, each offering something unique. However, when it came to narrowing it down only one truly felt like home. The views alone were art in and of itself, every window showcasing either a city landscape or Mother Nature’s oceanic masterpiece and that was just what our eyes feasted on outside. Inside, the walls surrounded us with artful displays that spoke to us. Truth be told I’m not well versed when it comes to art, but it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate beauty and talent when I see it through the artist’s eye. Walking through this home, I had a different frame of mind. It felt warm and inviting. Even my children have found an appreciation for art, making their own small contributions to the walls, further enhancing the feeling of home.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ― Pablo Picasso
“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ―Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Summers at her house were filled with long hours in her garden. I learned many life lessons in that garden, lessons I carry close to my heart and revisit often. My grandmother taught me it was okay to get my hands dirty, to embrace the moist soil between my fingertips, to tilt my face up to the sun and let the warmth reach my soul. She showed me what the art of nurturing, of loving, and of communicating could do for the living as well as for those desperately needing a little life breathed back into them. From her, I learned that life is ever-changing, and some of us will be quicker to adapt to our new surroundings than others. I learned that some of us need to immediately plant our roots and settle down. Others need a little more time to grow, experiencing and outgrowing different spaces, eventually needing a bigger space to spread out and show the world how much beauty we are capable of. And, she taught me to embrace the rain when my soul is thirsty for it, letting it cleanse my soul as it showers me with forgiveness, because we all make mistakes. Thankfully the land is plentiful, forever providing room for us to plant again, to grow, and ultimately to flourish.
During my recent trip to Washington, DC, as amazed as I was with the historical sites, I was in awe of the nature all around me. With each click of the camera, I thought of my grandmother and the many lessons I learned through the art of gardening by her side.
Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day to one amazing grandmother!
May your garden in heaven be as beautiful as you are!
All roads lead somewhere, but sometimes we keep taking the same road over and over again, head down, not really getting any where. I don’t mean your commute to work as sometimes that can’t be changed, and I don’t mean this only in the physical sense. How much are we not seeing because we are just going through the motions? Do we remain on that road out of habit, a sense of comfort, fear? What would happen if we change our direction just a bit, and tried heading down a different path? We’ll never know if we don’t try it. Whether it’s in our career, personal life, or spiritual walk, we will never know what’s in store for us if we don’t look around and take that first step down a different road. On that new road, we may find the reward to be greater than anything we could have ever imagined, or we may just confirm that the road we’ve been on is the right one for us. Either way, simply looking at things with a fresh perspective can be enlightening.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve started running in the mornings, a huge challenge for someone who isn’t a morning person. I don’t like to talk when I run, mostly because I’m too busy trying to breathe, and I don’t really look around much. I spend my time looking down, trying to talk myself into the next mile, mentally pushing myself to make it across the bridge and back.
Most mornings, this is what I see.
What I’ve been missing out on seeing is this.
The road I travel may have only shifted just a bit, but my perspective shifted a lot. My run hasn’t gotten any easier, I’m still trying to breathe, but the reward has definitely been enlightening!
Are you stuck on the same road, wishing for a change?
Are you being pushed in a new direction, but you’re too afraid to take that first step?
Is there a way to shift your direction a bit, change your perspective, and maybe reap the rewards?
What are you waiting for?
It was a hot, blustery day and his penetrating gaze was making me even more uncomfortable. I saw him eyeing me the moment I arrived, but dismissed it as curiosity to see someone not of his kind around these parts. He dared to make eye contact with me, and I took that moment to take him in as well from his large eyes not seeming to miss a single detail to his leathery skin and slow manner. I spent the morning slowly wandering the neighborhood, his neighborhood, taking in every detail of his environment. I felt the heat scorch my skin with every calculated step I took as I tried to place a comfortable distance between us. I was definitely a foreigner in these parts, and not accustomed to his forward ways. No matter which path I took it wasn’t long before I felt a presence, and turned to find him mere steps behind me once again. Did his kind not understand the concept of personal space? Every step forward took me down another path of beautiful scenery and a newfound appreciation for my strange follower’s home. There was a calm and beauty all around me, one only experienced when nature surrounds me. I got caught up in the scenery, only realizing he had closed the gap between us once it was too late. I panicked and dropped my purse. A true gentleman would have picked it up for me, but this was no gentleman. I reached for the bag, and as I rose I realized I couldn’t move. He had me caught in an animalistic embrace common to his kind. I was taken aback until I realized he meant no harm. His actions might have been quite forward of him, but he only meant to welcome me to his home…the zoo.