History searchers and Story keepers

I’ve always dreamed of visiting a french Flea Market , so when I went to Paris last month, I made sure to save an afternoon and go to the Marché Aux puces de Saint-Ouen because of my fascination for old, vintage items and my natural curiosity to find out about the history behind objects.

It was a cold raining day in Paris,  the gray sky was the ideal backdrop to the colorful display of items, some hanging outside the stores, some peaking outside sitting on tables.

As I started to walk around, completely fascinated with all the beautiful, rusty, unclaimed and forgotten things, most quietly hiding so many stories of love, despair, tragedies and misfortune, I began to wonder: Can objects be the carrier of stories, like a time capsule? When someone purchase them, are they aware of the lifetime of moments they have witness ?

A beautiful vintage kimono hanged on a textile stand. Who was the lady that first owned it? Did she love that piece so much that she kept it and worn it only for special occasions such as when her lover came to visit? Or was it an ordinary  piece that wrap her tired body after hours of work , when she sat quietly in her room, lonely, watching the streets of Paris and dreaming of a romantic future?

The vests were silently telling a story of places and celebrations and maybe passed by generations, to people who probably treasure them every single time they worn it.

So many beads, faux jewelry, pocket clocks, odd objects … where did they come from ? Who owned them ? How did those ended up here ? So many questions had my curiosity racing.


There was such a mixed display of intriguing things. Paintings done by artists who never made it to stardom. Silverware that passed by many family generations, careful cared by maids. Antique furniture that was once part of a household daily use. Timeless pieces and fragments of history.

And then more and more intriguing objects … pipes, old photographs and books, broken dolls and lamps sitting on tiny stores that looked like from a old book .  All surrounded by a mysterious energy.

The afternoon went by fast. There was a sad moment of realization that most of my questions were to be left unanswered. I was totally in peace with that .

The sense of gratitude of visiting this place was overwhelming and to have emerged myself in so much history , in search of stories had fed my inner child for now. My curiosity was tamed  and my eyes were full of beauty.


My hands, your hands,what are they holding?

Yesterday , after a sunset bike ride, I stopped to pick a beautiful magnolia bloom, and had the idea to photograph my hand holding it. At first, it didn’t strike me. I have taken so many pictures of my hand before: holding flowers, shells, leaves, with mountains and ancient cities in the background, always holding on to the same idea of how much beauty could I hold with in my hands?



But them, I became aware of the true meaning of our hands: to touch. We can communicate so much using our hands, many distinct emotions since we are wired to touch each other. Touching is our primary language but many of us forget how to use it. The power of soothing a crying baby. The magic of caressing a lover’s body. The outrageous gesture of hitting another human being.


It’s also a gift to be aware of the sensitivity of touching simple things. Holding a rock, a shell, a fruit or running your fingers through the pages of a book. Those are simple, magical things we take for granted.

I asked myself, how can I become more aware of this sense? This is also a form of mindfulness, to feel the power of touching someone or something, to a point we can be completely present with our senses. To me, my hands are channels: to transform ingredients into a meal, to heal my kids pains, to tend to my plants, to touch someone I love. To document beauty using my camera. To hold and to give. And mostly, to let it go when necessary.


Secret Life of Trees

Since I can remember, I have always thought the trees have secret messages for me. I must say it first, I have a very strong connection with trees and a very creative imagination. When I see a tree, I immediately try to silence my inner chattering so I can connect with those majestic beings.


They are at the same time, kindness and strength, humble and might, quiet and pompous.

Trees are the most perfect example of love. They give and give and give. Their branches houses birds and their nests. Their leaves becomes the much needed shades during summer. Then flowers that eventually become fruits.



Trunks that transforms into boats, furniture, houses, trains,wagons. All to fulfill its purpose, never questioning. Only being, always giving.



I could always hear the secret messages that were given to me by them: “Courage child, patience is a virtue” ,” Love until you heart explode and stop questioning” , ” This is just a moment, feel it and let it go” , “Trust your intuition “. Every single time I reached for the messages, during a period of sadness or a moment of bliss, they were always there ready for me.

Trees are the secret guardians of time and stories, the ones humans are unable to see or hear. They keep the mystery of the winds and the sweetness of the rains. They powerfully fight with the storms and share their sorrows with the moon. They exist, they love, they hear and communicate with us, if you can only open your senses to.


When you pass by a tree, silence your mind and open your heart for a moment. Listen. Ask questions. Tell them your fears and your sadness or whatever comes to you. I can assure you, you might not have all the answers, but you will walk away better, calmer and more balanced than before.

With the trees, I’ve learned to stay, I’ve learned to let go. I understood everything shall pass and patience is a process. That love is a learning experience and we, humans, are in this journey to remember our true essence.



Now and again

While driving to work today, thoughts scattered around like a messy puzzle,  I was reluctantly trying to center my attention to something beautiful and meaningful.

The streets of Coral Gables are stunning, with trees forming a green canopy, the sunlight was sipping through, finally after so many days of rain. It was a unique scene, even though I have seem before many times. My eyes wide open, my senses awake. I spotted this gorgeous Cassia “Golden Showers” tree, bursting in flowers and covering the floor with those blooms. I had to stop and photograph.

Not to far ahead, I saw another one of my favorite trees,  a majestic Flamboyant, filled with delicate red blooms everywhere, covering the floors and the cars everywhere.



Later on, I remembered taking pictures of the same tree sometime last  year. I looked through my Instagram gallery, I was not only astonished to find out the picture was taken exactly one year ago! How much of a coincidence can that be? The synchronicity of things is really something unexplained.


There, standing  on a carpet of flowers, I was so aware of how ephemeral nature is, those same flowers could be gone tomorrow after a heavy storm and not to return until next year. Looking at those flowers, the fragile cycle of life made total sense, how evanescent days and years are and I was I felt blessed for being able to look, see and acknowledge so much beauty. And my only prayer, at that moment, was to never loose my sense of wonder.



Gray is a beautiful color

There is so much beauty in a raining day. What a shame if all you can see is gray. Just observe and you’ll be able to see how much the colors and tones changes. It’s the perfect analogy between the forces of nature, the gray is the quite the opposite of blue, but each one brings out the best shade of each color.

Heavy skies reminds me of cycles and the importance to understand the human powerlessness to fight against nature.

Be open to see the beauty in the most simple places when it rains … The reflections, the puddles, the rain falling. There is magic, if you would have your senses opened to.  Because gray is really a beautiful color after all.





We are all the same

Often when I travel, I enjoy observing people. I like to walk around and just watch what they are doing, wonder what are they thinking and somehow I’ll try relate to their daily lives,dreams and struggles.

Last time I visited NYC, I made an experiment to stare at peoples eyes while walking in the streets of Manhattan. I noticed many would first be surprised, maybe of being noticed, maybe feeling uncomfortable or just because the eye contact would somehow reminds us, even if for a split of a second, that we are all the same.


There are some strangers that have left an imprint on me, specially when I look through my pictures from the places I’ve visited.  This old gentleman was sleeping in the streets of Meatpacking District Manhattan when I took this picture. I was touched by the sad reality of being homeless. It was a cold autumn day and the idea of him not having a place to go really made my heart heavy.

IMG_3781.JPGI was walking on the old cobblestone streets of Prague when I noticed this old lady working on the back of this ancient church, caring for the plants on a garden with the a beautiful Virgin Mary statue in the center. I stood there observing her for a while. I could sense all her love and kindness, probably centered by her faith, which touched me deeply. She noticed my presence and we made eye contact for a moment, smiling at each other. I took the picture and left. That was a moment of beauty and connection.


When I visited Paris,  I was amazed to see all the artists sitting around drawing, painting and sketching. I noticed this beautiful lady sitting on the Jardin de Plantes in a beautiful sunny spring morning, the flowers were blooming everywhere, the nature colors were bright, that scene looked like a painting. I stood there for a while, contemplating, in a total state of awe. Eventually she noticed me, we smiled at each other and she went back to her drawing. I took this picture and left. What an fantastic moment.


If there is a picture that could represent time, this would be it : a lifetime of struggles. Love. Hardship. Companionship. All showing here. This was at the Essaouira port in Morocco. While I stood there observing them, waiting for the right moment to take this picture, I couldn’t help but to imagine what would their real story be? I will never know. But they looked at me, probably wondering the same.


I saw her in the streets of Chinatown Montreal. She was probably in her 70’s, talking on the phone having a very argumentative conversation in Chinese. I first noticed all the odds and ends on the floor, which she was trying to sell hoping to make some money. I wondered: what’s her story? When did she get here and from where? Why is she struggling today ? My thoughts were just an open question. She didn’t acknowledge my presence. I took this picture and left.

For all the strangers that I can remember, the ones that I have somehow made eye contact or taking their picture, the ones that noticed me and the ones that didn’t, I can certainly relate to them.

We are all here, we all have the same DNA. We love, we lost, we hustle trying to survive, one way or another. We are all the same, either we accept it or not. I carry some of them somehow. I was touched by their sight and that is, without a question, a beautiful thing.

Nature’s lost and found

When in doubt, go to nature. When looking for answers, go to nature. When you are not sure what’s the best for you, go to nature. When you are lacking balance, just return to nature.
Last weekend, I combined all of that. The destination was Cayo Costa Island, a state park on the west side of Florida.

The first little town was Bokeelia, a quiet, charming little island located on the west coast, with a old Florida flair. That’s where we took the Ferry boat to our destination.

It was my first time visiting Cayo Costa, my first time camping, my first time staying on a desert island or the closest it could be to one: no electricity, very little connectivity, silence, nature, insects,  birds singing.  Nature and enchantment was everywhere.

There is some kind of magic when you do things for the first time. You go back to a child like state, where everything is new, your curiosity and imagination are your natural mindset. My eyes were open and my senses were alive with all the beauty around me.

We walked about 30 to 40 minutes to get to this stunning beach, where there’s a sandbar that extends to many yards towards the ocean during low tide, it gives you the impression you are walking on top of the water and reminded me of a passage on the bible where Moses parts the Red Sea so his people could walk through to escape persecution. It had a mystical, peaceful, uniqueness that mesmerized me.

There was a moment when all the birds flew together against the sunset, the sky on fire, the ocean in the background, the magic was unlocked, right there on that exact moment.

All that beauty was almost overwhelming, nature has this incredible power to bring all your senses together.

Was almost night time when we walked back from the beach, we got attacked by tinny mosquitoes and got hypnotized by the glowing reflection on the sand against the flashlight, which we soon found out were the eyes of hundreds of tiny spiders shining ! During the night, the wind blew and blew, shaking the leaves of the trees,  the stars were the perfect backdrop to frame it all together.

The next morning the sun was all bright and majestic, keeping his promise to always shine no matter what.

I’m still feeling the stimulating, positive energy from this experience… It will hopefully linger with me until my next trip. It will keep me daydreaming of all the adventures and those memories will be forever treasured in my heart.

What do you see?

What is ugly ? What is ordinary ?

Today during my urban exploration that question resonated in my mind. I wasn’t sure of the real definition of ugly or ordinary because it is very personal and subjective to what you are looking at.

I explored a neighborhood that I always wanted to go, called Surfside. It’s old for Miami’s standards,  with some homes that haven’t been remodeled. So they were my subjects.

Two old chairs standing in a front yard. A old, about to be demolished house. Ordinary and ugly ? Maybe. Maybe not.

A old payphone. Ordinarily interesting.
As I keept going, things just sundely changed, and instead I was surprised by little “gifts”.  A gorgeous cardinal sitting on a tree, a butterfly garden and a beautiful leaf that felt right on my lap.

My insigh was, while looking for the beauty on the “ugly and ordinary ” I was given the gift of serendipity. The joy of seeing things that sparked my soul was really a living proof that the beauty is really in the eye of the beholder.

And that is always a beautiful thing.

Unlimited magic

Lately, I’ve been struggling to find inspiration . It’s like my creative juices have runed out.

Creativity (noun):

“the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.”

So I started to contemplate the magnificence of nature as being a natural state. What’s magnificent to me? The first thing that came to my mind was the sunset and the many pictures I’ve taken of it:

If the sunset is a unlimited source of inspiration for many people around the world such as photographers, poets, lovers, artists and people like you and me. The uniqueness of each sunset is a reminder that, there will be a single opportunity to live that moment of inspiration – there’s no two sunsets alike.
That was an epiphany. The creativity is always here. The inspiration is always within. Even if sometimes is quietly taking a pause. But the beauty is really everywhere around us .