Treasures from Puebla: Trees of Life

Part of travel for me is getting a glimpse of local art, and taking some home if I am lucky. I have developed a weakness for folk art and I had a field day shopping for it when in Puebla. Amongst the sea of beautiful Talavera pottery, turquoise jewelry, and handmade panchos were these magnificent, brightly colored, clay sculptures called Trees of Life.

Some were only a few inches tall and some were taller than me. The more traditional Trees of Life contained Biblical images, most often Adam & Eve, and looked likes candelabras. Other versions contained images of nature, representing the interconnectedness of all life.

Whatever the size, theme, or color scheme, they were all beautiful and I ended up taking two home (small ones that fit in my suitcase and my budget of course).


From the Gardens of Hawaii

Big Island, Hawaii

The weather is getting warmer here in Detroit, but not quite warm enough to plant flowers just yet. Instead, I edited some garden photos that I took in Hawaii, where they bloom all year long. Happy Spring everyone!

Kona, Hawaii

Big Island, Hawaii

Big Island, Hawaii

Talking Flowers in Krakow

Krakow, Poland

One of my favorite things about travel is connecting with the locals. Even if it’s just a brief moment or simple conversation, those are moments I remember. Unfortunately I cannot say that I speak many languages, but when I can fit it into my schedule, I have been studying Spanish and Polish. On a trip to Krakow my very limited Polish paid off.

We were walking through the Planty (a beautiful park that encircles the Old Town) at dusk. I stopped to take a picture as the street lights were turning on and noticed a little lady in my viewfinder hiding from my camera. She was selling small bouquets of little red flowers and I approached her to buy one after I took this photo. To my surprise and delight, I understood everything she said, and I’m pretty sure she understood me as well. I walked away with not only a picture, but some pretty flowers, a smile, and a moment I will always remember.

All the Birds Sing Words: My Tiki Fascination

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Big Island

Part mid-century mod decor, part ancient religious icons. Beautiful wooden carving or ceramic mai tai-filled mug. A little bit Shag painting, and a little bit scary. The thought of Tiki conjures up all kinds of images in my mind, from giant Polynesian statues to animatronic Disneyland show, and I am fascinated by them all.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

My fascination with Tiki began as a small kid inside the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disney World. Of course, there is a much deeper meaning to the world of Tiki than amusement park attraction.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

What was turned into a caricature of tropical fun a half-century ago are actually ancient Polynesian deities. Tiki statues, or ki’i, of these gods were created to capture divine powers and connect with the spiritual realm.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

On a recent visit to the Hawaiian islands, we visited a beautiful historic park on the Big Island. Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, or Place of Refuge, is a sacred site where law breakers in ancient Hawaii could come to be saved from their penalty of death. Visitors can see temples, ruins, and a number of Tiki statues.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

While the ki’i are recreations of the original statues, their craftsmanship is incredible, and I will always be impressed by the imagination and creativity of the ancient Polynesian people who originally created these figures.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

I will admit that while I love retro Tiki collectibles more than the average gal, and the Tiki Room will always have a place in my heart, seeing Tikis as they were meant to be seen is the most fascinating and best of the many portrayals of Tiki.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

 “All the birds sing words and the flowers croon, in the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room.”
– Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Beautiful & Familiar

Prague, Czech Republic

Ornate or simple, colorful or plain, places of worship come in all sizes and architectural styles, but one thing they have in common is that sense of peaceful solemnity inside. Wherever I am, whether visiting another state or someplace on the other side of the world, there’s a sense of familiarity when I walk into a church. I feel safe and at home.

Atlixco, Puebla, Mexico

Churches are one of my favorite subjects to photograph not only for their beauty, but also for the way they reveal a connection that crosses borders, cultures, and time.

Detroit, Michigan

Puebla, Mexico

Vysehrad, Prague, Czech Republic

Santa Fe, New Mexico

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