We started off the New Year my favorite way with Gabby’s birthday being the first order of business. I think of the years before we had her we often slept through the night not even greeting the new year until we got up the next day…my, how things have changed! Now I find that I look forward to the New Year more than I used to. Many get retrospective with the years end but I find myself far more eager to press ahead. The past is merely a stepping stone to the future!
The future can’t be grasped fully without an understanding of the past. That being said I’m reminded of the strange dishes I’ve tasted abroad. Even trying things like the above dish of peanut butter soup and grass cutter rat would seem daunting…I admit it, I was daunted too however in tasting it I found it to be something far more wonderful then I would have dared hope! Willingness to push your limits is a requirement if you want to see reward come. I think of a song my mom wrote called “Great Victories”. That song talks about how you can only have great victories by having a great battle…how true that is! We had to break a mold to go to Ghana in the first place but because a brave group of ladies led by my mom tried something we had never dared to try before we were so blessed later on. Because of that 20 years later I stood with my family meeting the son of the man I’ve grown to consider my brother. Seeing Lovely with Julian filled me with a very real joybecause I felt like I was seeing the future through my camera lens here. Here were people from two entirely different nations and cultures standing together and facing a bright future togetherand I knew it was speaking of even better things to come.
We finally had some time to visit a botanical garden in Ghana. We had to go some distance above Accra to get there. We stopped at one point and looked down in the valley where the city stood. It was a good way to try and forget the intense heat. One thing I love about the tropics is the extraordinary flowers there are . I’m not expert on plants…for all I know these are in America but surely not in Montana! Just look at these spear shaped and red edged leaves! Glorious greens and yellows give me hope in this wintery white world we’re in right now. Ah yes, I remember what green looks like now! Surely this is tropical paradise! Everyone takes pictures of the top of palms but I found there to be a beauty in the roots too! Ancient trees looked down on the present with a majestic flare. Just look at the base of this monster tree! Many of you have shown pictures of your chickens…this African rooster knew who ruled the forest…at least in his mind! The largest tree trunk had a spiny protection unlike anything I’ve ever seen before..would you care to hug this tree?!? It’s hard to grasp just how huge these trees were from a picturebut remember we were with a large team of people and this group shot was taken at the base of one of these trees so this may give some perspective. Some trees weren’t just amazing for their height but their width! This tree was carved from top to bottom! Orchids were everywhere…this one was unlike any I’ve seen in the pastand this while not an orchid was beautiful none the less! We have centipedes and maybe millipedes but this one was well over six inches long ! Look a water balloon tree! Okay, I actually have no idea what kind of tree this is! Ever seen a cinnamon tree? Well, now you have! The bark was so aromatic…even the leaves smelled like cinnamon! The military landed a helicopter in the garden years ago and the jungle is slowly claiming it for it’s own . This little beauty peaked out at us as we continued down the path! There are palms and then there are palms! These growths in the tree looked like giant pinecones or maybe that’s what I’m used to seeing here in my home state. Mom’s ankle was bothering her some at this point so as she stopped to restI thought I’d get a closer look at the pinecone type growths…I’ve never seen anything like this! They were at least 12 inches long! Soon other flowers grabbed my attention . If I lived here I’d try to have these in my garden…I wonder if they’d survive my black thumb. Well, that’s about it for now, Hope this warms the cold wherever you are and remember: spring really is on the way!