I wander through the trails where plants grow from above and below. Trees entangled in assorted shades of green. Backlit by the sun’s rays, I stumble upon an epiphytic fern with its leaves standing bright and poised. I get a closer look and the intricate pattern reveals itself. Its name, Microgramma mortoniana. Its beauty, Byzantine.

 

 

barcocolorwebsizelightblue

 

Often, my kids spark the creativity in me. With such a pure and free approach to anything that they do, I follow their lead like a student. They remind me of how limited and structured we become as we feel the pressure to fit the mold of what is expected. Which, reminds me of how important it is to nurture their innate behavior where imagination and curiosity thrive. May we give them the space to challenge assumptions, maintain diversity of thought over conformity and learn through experimentation….And may we follow their lead.

Together with my kids we decorated the barcos to give them ‘life’!

 

Endless creative opportunities with this recent find. Amphilophium paniculatum is the scientific name of the ligneous vine bearing this beautiful seed pod. Here the local kids call them ‘barquitos’ which means ‘little boats’ as they float in the water. Once the pods dry up about 100 seeds per pod are dispersed to start all over again! Still so much to discover here in the jungle!

 

This composition is made up of seeds gathered from the native trees and plants around the reserve. Arranged on a table of thick white slate, these potential offsprings lie. In order to open the pods you need a rock or a hammer. Designed for survival and to withstand all the elements. I look to nature as my example.

Nature is my catalyst for creativity. Alone, the lichen covered stone is a masterpiece. Then, I add some filters, manipulate it a bit and you have a mysterious image. A satellite image of land, lakes, and vegetation on Earth? An image from NASA of an exoplanet? Caribbean beaches pocked with orange umbrellas? What do you see? What an intricate texture for a piece of stained glass or a dope pattern for a pair of leggings!

These photos are just a few of the mushrooms I encountered while walking through Villa Monte Reserve. Mushrooms are merely the fruit that is born from a much larger organism called mycelium. They are the oldest and largest organisms in the world and have survived multiple catastrophic and massive extinctions in Earth’s history. This is due in part by their intelligent and intricate ability to adapt, evolve and share information! From cleaning toxic spills to curing diseases, these complex organisms are critical for our survival. Mushrooms aren’t just for making champignons á la créme! There are only a fraction of mushrooms identified and scientists believe there are millions more unidentified species!  If you are also fascinated, check out Paul Stamets, the mushroom guru.