Shete Boka National Park

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Located on the north end of the Caribbean island of Curacao, the Sheta Boka National Park is, according to their website, an “Area with more than 10 beautiful Boka’s (inlets) where three species of turtles nest. A boka is, in fact, an inlet. Shete Boka stands for ‘seven inlets’. Years ago, the environmental group Amigu di Tera arranged excursions in this area along seven bays. Hence, the name is taken, although in reality there are more than seven coves in this national park. The park begins at the beautiful Boka Tabla where large, unpredictable waves crush against an underground cave. An impressive experience!”  Learn more at https://www.curacao.com/en/directory/do/sights-and-sounds/shete-boka-national-park/

Prevailing northeast winds buffet the island.  Trees on the north end of the island are often bent like the featured image or dwarfed from the wind’s impact.

I visited the park on a tour of the island during February.  It was a restful vacation away from this frigid Nebraska Winter and did wonders for my mental health.  The crashing waves in the first photo were the highlight of the park.  The tour bus also visited a lovely park beach.  Our group had an hour to swim or sit in the sun.  I opted for sunshine, but many dived into the turquoise water.

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The tour bus also stopped at the salt ponds to see flamingos. We were able to walk near a series of protected pools where many flamingos dipped their elegant heads in search of food.  The flamingos have a peaceful existence eating in the still water.

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I noticed unusual water creatures at the edge of the pond.  I’m not sure of their biological identity, but they are quite beautiful.

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Curacao is a destination to consider to get away from northern winters.

Barn Swallows

The barn swallows are gone for this year.  They left sometime in September. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barn_Swallow/id

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I watch for their return Mid-May every year in Nebraska.  I know they will leave end of summer and think I’ll say good-bye this year. I look for them in the evenings, and find they are already gone like quicksilver.  One minute it’s there, the next second it slips through my fingers.  My reflexes aren’t fast enough to see.  Their migratory pattern is fixed in their DNA.  https://journeynorth.org/tm/swallow/News.html

I like to watch the swallows dip and dive on warm summer evenings at twilight.  I imagine it’s possible to see them snapping up mosquitos and flies, cleaning my backyard for human outdoor comfort, as they feed themselves and their young nesting in my barn.

These sleek blue-black birds left about the time I ordered a new black mobile briefcase to roll to new part-time self-employment.  Buying new supplies for  a new post-retirement career is easy and fun.  Writing the letter of resignation to leave my position after 39 years with the same employer is hard.

Over the years, and through many different administers, I worked to provide more and different kinds of  help to students.  Until the last few years, those administrations supported and encouraged my program’s efforts.  They believed in the concept of helping students through many obstacles, enhancing their graduation rates.  The current one doesn’t share that view.  This leader’s focus is public relations, and self-image.

The program I’m leaving has been reduced to near nonexistence. Theoretically, that should make it easier to retire, however leaving is bittersweet.  I’m hopeful the next person in this position will be more articulate, and able to make a case to recover lost services that benefit students.

I’ll build my own mud nest, ready to hatch and fledge a new direction.

See the source image

 

 

 

SUNRISE

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I like to be up early in the morning and watch the sunrise.  It’s life-affirming to see another day emerge from darkness as mother earth turns.  Spring mornings often go from pink, to mauve, gold, or red as the morning brightens, as if a master light engineer is controlling the process.

I’m sometimes tired and discouraged by day’s end, but the morning brings promise of a better day ahead.  Listening to the robins wake up, begin their cheerful chirping, the mourning dove calling to attract a new mate, and faint flutter of finches’ wings as they fly to the feeder are a tonic for emotional renewal.

I’m writing this blog to help me make decisions about my future.  Each new day brings a little progress, and many more questions.

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Summer flowers and future decisions are just around the corner.

 

Birds

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Sandhill Cranes gather by the thousands along the Platte River this time of year.  Even on a overcast grey morning, it’s an amazing sight to see the islands formed in the river from sleeping crane families.  As they fly from the river, it’s often in large groups.  If you want to learn more about cranes, read the book about cranes by Paul A. Johnsgard, with photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen. It is called A chorus of Cranes, published by the University Press of Colorado.

DSC05090The cranes feed in fields along the Platte during the day, then return to the river at night.

Two years ago, I visited a Prairie Chicken lek in northern Nebraska.  It was another early morning wait in a photography blind for the birds to wake up and begin their mating dance.  Most of the people in the blind were professional photographers with amazing cameras, but I captured a few pictures of male Prairie Chickens showing off for the gals.

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Weather permitting, I hope to see the mating dance of the Sharp-tailed Grouse this weekend.    When I’m  home, I watch Doves, Blue Jays, Finches, and Woodpeckers eat from the birdfeeder outside my kitchen window.  Bird watching is way for me to chart the season’s changes.  I find peace in Mother Nature’s company, at home, or in a bird’s backyard.