This morning I watched the sunrise. The sun turned the darkened sky luminous with yellows and oranges. Then, as the sun crested the mountains to the east, in a fireball I made this photograph. A clear morning, beautiful... with heat to come and underneath the heat a cool breeze for the spirit.
Yesterday evening we enjoyed a wonderful sunset. The weather patterns are beginning to settle back into a more typical November... after the passage of Sandy. For the first time I felt the cool dry air underneath the heat of the sun... this is a hallmark of the beginning of the winter season. The afternoon rain was welcome and the lingering clouds from the storm were dissipating as the sun was ready to set. Politics is over. Thanksgiving is likely to be wonderful this year. How are all of our Lemontree friends doing now?
Sometimes I have the feeling that the Lemontree and our part of western Puerto Rico is more like dream. The days blur... the weather is constant and sometimes it is difficult to tell what month of the year or even the season of the year it is.
The days unfold, sunrise, sunset, afternoon rain. The sun, sand, palms... greens, blues, grays and rainbow colors it is a bit hypnotic... even disorienting. After two or three days even the most driven and stressed out guest begins to unwind and feel the magic. I wanted a way to express this sense... as an image. Thanks for looking.
Everyone loves Irene aka Kitty. She is the greeter of guests and the scourge of pests. She is a protector of the Lemontree from dogs and giant iguanas and a friend to children.
She is the Lemontree Kitty.
Sunrise... a wonderful time at the Lemontree. The air is cool and full of expectation. This morning was very clear. As the days move towards winter... such as it is here the sun moves further south when it rises... and gives a great show of color before bursting forth in its bright white majesty.
This is the rainy season. It means that typically we will get an afternoon rain. It can come in the early afternoon and depart several hours later. While the morning hours are best for snorkeling, diving and beach walking... we do have a special affection for the rainy afternoon. Why... in one word: DRAMA. We see the black clouds roll in from the east... the air cools a bit. There is something in the air... something electric... some anticipation. You can sit on your balcony and watch the play of the world unfold. One last curious observation. While it is raining in Mayaguez, across the bay, it can be quiet sunny in Rincon. In fact most locals stay in the water until the storm is upon them.
I made this photograph yesterday. For me it seemed to capture some of the drama and anticipation of the coming storm... a storm that has come before, will come again... and is part of the gift that is here for you to enjoy.
Some nights the moon is bright and the water is so still you can almost feel that you are sitting at the worlds edge. So a bit of photoshop and here is our take.
The Lemontree is well known as a destination for lovers and for those seeking to kindle or deepen their relationship. Today, we celebrated a wedding on Lemontree beach. We have hosted a number of smaller destination weddings and each has been unique. What is really great is that the couple decided to marry after spending a weekend in the Coco Suite! They returned... complete with wedding party and publicly proclaimed their love and commitment for one another. With their feet being gently lapped by the waves, Gregg Carson of Taino Divers officiated the wedding of Sasha and Greg. After the wedding the couple headed north for some surfing and further celebration.
I was out at Domes Beach down past the Lighthouse and I saw 12 or so surfers out enjoying the small fun surf that we can have during the summer. Now Domes is a great break and in the winter will challenge very good surfers... but now it is accessible to all levels. When guests come to the Lemontree we encourage them to get up and out and into the water... especially if they are younger and of an athletic mind. For those who have never surfed we recomend lessons and an orientation to the breaks.
Bella J has been on the look out for plant material that will thrive by the sea in our tropical environment. One plant that has done very well is the Blood Lily. We have several in our central courtyard and if you have not seen it in bloom it is a real treat. It likes it wet and warm so this Lily waits until our summer, rainy season to put on a show. It appears like a ball of fire... and large as well. There is an other world quality to the collective blooms that we see pictured above. When you come for a visit ask Bella about her garden.
Rainy season is finally here. In the afternoon about 2P the heavens open and it rains... then an hour later it clears. The air is cool and fresh. People are in the water up until the rain actually arrives and then unless there is lightning may stay... because the sea is still in the upper 80's. The rain has been late in coming this year... and while you might think that rain and vacation dont mix, in fact they do. Up and active in the morning, when it rains you can enjoy the sound of the rain beating on the roof or seek shelter for a bit in your favorite watering hole. After the rain the air feels great... inonized or ozoned or someting... and cool and fresh. Welcome in to the tropics.
Over the nearly nine years we have owned the Lemontree we have grown our garden. The Lemontree, located on the sea offers special challenges. We have sun... lots of direct rays. We have salt, we live in the tropics which means periods of wet, afternoon rains and periods of dry months. Not all plants like this... but many beautiful ones do.
This morning I was struck by a "volunteer". Not one of our cultivated and tended flowering plants but by one that came in over the wall and made a home. These accidents are quiet lovely and seem to fill out our plantings.
When you are here, stop and take a moment to look at our garden.
This morning we have been given great mats of Saragossa Sea seaweed, here pictured by a top of land grass. These mats come from the Saragosso Sea which is located just north and to the east of the Bahamas. The sea itself is centered on Bermuda. It is a vortex of circular currents which streach out for a thousand miles and at this time of the year, when we do not have strong storms or winds and the seas are mild float past us litterally these are islands in the stream. What is really cool about these mats is that below them feeding on the vegitation are large schools of small fish, also snails and shrimp... and below them are much larger fish feeding on the smaller fish. These are in fact floating and moving communities of life. The entire food chain. Local fishermen know to watch for these mats and use them as great markers for fishing spots. In the afternoon when our rains kick in the mats are washed ashore.
For me the mats are an annual reminder of how vast yet interconected the world is.
Some days are so overwhelming I just don't know how to express the sense of the present. This photograph had to be made... and shared. Walt Whitman years ago wrote a poem titled O Me, O Life... I don't recall much about it except the injunction that we are here now and that the poem continues to be written and we have a verse to contribute. The past is past... the future is to come... what we have now... the only sure thing we have is the present. At the Lemontree, by the sea on a glorious day with calm seas, a cool breeze, brilliant sunshine we are alive and in the world at this instant.
Like Fantasy Island, we have small plane service. Ours runs from from San Juan to Mayaguez a brief 10 minute drive from the Lemontree. Last week Bella Jane took de plane on her way to a connecting flight in San Juan. She asked the pilot to take the coastal route rather that the over mountain trip. She took this image of the Lemontree... the two buildings (one with racing stripes) in the center. As you can see we hug the coast on the Spanish Railway wall between the sea and the hills as they come down to the shore. The beaches in western Puerto Rico are all natural... and public which means that you can walk literally for miles if you chose.
The air service is offered by Cape Air and is a great way to beat the drive from San Juan. There is a car rental service (Thrifty, at last look) at the airport. No TSA... no hassel. Its a great way to see the island.
The Saturday before Easter Sunday is a time for Family. The beach houses are typically owned by families and at Easter time the families get together before Church... for food, for warmth and for fun. The water temperature today must be over 85 degrees ion the shallows. As you can see no swell. The beaches here are all natural which means that they are narrow but shaded by overhanging trees. They are perfect for walking, a quick soak and some lounging. It is something of a tradition that family groups will float together in the water. The parents/aunts and uncles/grandparents can be enjoying an adult beverage and chatting while the children dart in and out. This is a vision of innocence. A kind of innocence that is precious.
A few days ago we had a taste for Ice-cream. No not the stuff that comes from the market... but for the nostalgia of the ice-cream truck... with the music. Today It showed up. Going nice and slow. Staffed by a grandmother (pictured above) her daughter (not pictured) and her grand-daughter (pictured). We had a taste for a Banana Split and a cup of vanilla with chocolate sauce. As we were completing our purchases a group of visiting teens came up... got in line. A bit of a wait for one. Ah the impatience of youth.
What a wonderful way to glide into the late afternoon.
Several days ago I was sitting quietly as the day ended. The evening crept up, it became quieter and the air softer. Now wnen we think of sunset we usually think about the drama of the sun setting, the colors the fire. But sometimes the realy pleasure is in just waiting for 20 or thirty minutes after the sun has set. As the world begins change. This after sunset can be subtle and most calming.
For the past several days all of the Caribbean and some of Central America has been under the influence of an enormous front which stretched from Honduras, over the islands of the Caribbean and out into the Atlantic Ocean. There have been periods of intense rain, followed by a clearing... but the sky's have remained gray. This is remarkable as the usual pattern at this time of year is for showers in the afternoon and brilliant blue sky's in the morning and later afternoon.
Never mind, the guests at the Lemontree for this Memorial Day weekend enjoyed the break from the sun. Some just watched the sky show from their terraces and took their leisure. Others went on excursions to some of the small towns in the interior bringing back enormous baskets of mangoes and wonderful huge flowers. Like these Lobster Claws.
Today, the front has pushed on and the weather is back to its more predictable "tropical paradise" self.
This Saturday was a milestone. At the Francisco Lopez Cruz Foundation where Bella and I study music, it was Dia de Logros or Day of Accomplishments. Bella has reached the halfway point in her study of the Cuatro and I completed a third term of Bongo. On this day, students present a concert and Bella played with her Cuatro class a Puerto Rican favorite, Alma Boricua and the audience was singing and cheering along with the song. She also played with Taller Orchestra and they played these well known Puerto Rican songs Preciosa, Dime and Campinatas de Cristal. Pictured above, obviously in high spirits, Bella is tuning up and ready to go. She is wearing her very red shirt! Each instructor decides on a color of shirt and her cuatro class selected RED! The day lasted from about 2:00 p.m. until well after dark. After a summer of practicing on our own, formal classes begin again in late August.