Island life: A curated exhibition of nature’s early-morning artistry in Belize

Posted on Updated on

Pearls from the nightly rain still linger in the loving crevasses and folds of satiated leaves. No sun will rise to vaporize these crystalline gems on this early morn. All around us, clouds struggle to organize as shifting breezes thwart their mission — but the rain is inevitable and due in abundance.

It isn’t every morning that I get up early to walk the little Moppit, but when I do, I am always rewarded with stunning sunrises, a blissful calm, a symphony of bird calls rising to a cacophony on occasion, the occasional pod of dolphins just offshore, the blustery hustle of storm clouds moving into position, the egrets and herons vigilant in the shallows.

There is always something.

If I weren’t so lazy, I suppose, there would be even more. 

Let’s run through the plants first, then some respectable cloud formations on the tail end of sunrise.

This morning was filled with abundance as we hit our usual path at first strike of dawn. Moppit registered all the overnight scents from stray dogs, pets, iguanas, hermit crabs and humans that provide her with a map of the universe that I can only imagine. My own universe was filled with rain-drenched plants and massive gray cloud formations that promised more of the same.

I’ve said it often enough before, the sky to the east is a grand canvas providing ever-changing and inspired patterns of pure artistry for those who take the time to stop and look up. If you ever desire to major in cloud aesthetics, Ambergris Caye is the perfect laboratory for your doctoral research. In the grand scheme of things, little else changes as much on this island as the clouds. Oh, restaurants and bars and people and beach trash come and go but the basic aesthetic of the island seems little different from when we moved here four years ago.

So, clouds. That is the macro experience of our dawn-side walk.

A brilliant slash of red, the last stand of a proud and defiant bouquet in the midst of yellows, greens, lavenders and purples.

Drilling down through the universe we come to the micro experience — the plants.  The overnight rain left everything shiny and clean and dripping with crystalline pearls.

Considering that Hurricane Earl nearly wiped our vegetation clean off the property two years ago, this is nothing short of miraculous. With more than a little help from gardeners who have replanted, cultivated and tended to tender young sprouts that have exploded and flourished with this year’s abundance of rain. We’ve gone from devastated war zone to a rainbow jungle.

We cherish the rain right now — as much as it dismays visitors — because soon there will be no more for long stretches of time. Cisterns will begin to drain, parched plants will lose the current luster as sand and dust cake their leaves. This time of year, the rain sneaks in mostly under cover of darkness and, honestly, nothing calms the restless heart like the late-night lullaby of droplets on the patio tiles.

Like well-orchestrated fireworks, brilliant crimson shoots explode from the top before fading to the muted colors of the plant below.
Nothing says morning like speckled yellows and greens, vying for attention on our morning walk.
Our last flower of the morning has a majestic feel to it, I think. A stately sweep of its leaves, open to the droplets that give it life.


The grand morning canvas over the barrier reef

The Dive Bar dock always provides a suitable visual anchor for any cloud formation — contributing depth and perspective.

Even after a glorious overnight drenching, the clouds weren’t ready to give up with the rising sun. Usually, they grudgingly disperse and leave the day to the glorious blues and their fluffy gray and white siblings in the sky.

Not today.

The morning clouds were saturated with rain and they were determined to unload it before moving on.

I call this one “Sailboat, anchored right” followed by . . .
. . . “Sailboat, anchored left.”
Then a variation of “Sailboat, anchored right.” The canvas is endlessly changing.

And finally, this image was taken just south of our home on a sprawling piece of property that grows busier by the day. Behind me, skydivers land in tandem while diners watch from a new restaurant and shoppers shop at the new produce stand. The barge brings in soil and gravel and a front-end loader and even a dump truck to haul them away. Pretty self-contained operation.

Tote that barge, lift that shovel: Last night, laborers raced against the setting sun to clear the barge of topsoil and gravel.

May your New Year be filled with lush flora, crazy beautiful clouds, sunshine, surprises, adventure, solitude when you need it most,  and love! And thank you for following along in 2017.



8 thoughts on “Island life: A curated exhibition of nature’s early-morning artistry in Belize

    Mike McFarlin said:
    December 30, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Coming to Cloisters on Jan 4. Hope to see you then.
    Mike & Sara McFarlin

    Sent from my iPad


    Jon Peabody said:
    December 30, 2017 at 8:33 am

    The interplay of your words and photographs brings morning on this tropical island to life. Thank you from one who is far away but coming “home” soon


    Chris Lamb said:
    January 1, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Love all your stories and photos Bob. Linda and I have booked our honeymoon trip to Belize for April 10-19, staying at the SunBreeze Suites. Happy New Year to you and to Rose

    Liked by 1 person

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      January 2, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Ah, Chris, you arrive on my birthday. A twice-over special day, then! Keep me posted on your plans and let me know how I can assist. Congratulations again on your upcoming wedding!


    Janet said:
    January 3, 2018 at 1:11 am

    You describe the beauty you see so clearly and the photos are amazing. I might try to paint a couple one of theses days!

    Love to you both and a blessed new year,

    Jan and Ian

    Liked by 1 person

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      January 3, 2018 at 6:12 am

      Thank you, Jan! I’d love to see you do that! keep me posted. Meanwhile, wishing you and Ian the happiest year possible.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s