One of my favorite things I’ve found on the internet, the “Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India” were created by villagers who trained trees and their root systems to span across the waterways near their village.
I was ecstatic to find these after toying with the idea of splicing together trees to grow into a house or structure of some kind, which by the way has also now already been done (Fab Tree Hab). I had been toying with the idea of cloning Melina trees, which are a fast growing tree that has wood that bugs don’t like to eat, and weaving/splicing them together to grow a small one bedroom house over a decade or so… a project I’d still love to take on one day.
But back to the bridges… the following article has some great photos and more details about these living bridges:
Upon seeing these bridges, it seemed obvious that they must have been made with Banyan trees, and that seems to be right… the article says they’re made with Ficus, which is a type of fig tree. They’re called Banyans in India and Higueron here in Costa Rica.
These particular bridges have been grown for centuries and some are 500 years old and 100 feet long! Unlike a regular bridge, which weakens and must be repaired as nature’s elements break it down over time, these bridges get stronger with age.
One element of their construction that fascinates me is the long range, sustainable thinking that’s behind them. For one of the longer bridges, it must take more than a person’s lifetime to make it growable, which means that the people building them will never be able to use them, but they put out their sweat and blood so that their great-grandchildren, who they will never meet, can safely cross a river long after they have passed away. Such long-range thinking is no longer part of our modern technological culture, where nearly everything we buy is obsolete within a few years, and in the U.S. people change houses and communities roughly every five years.Read More
A few years ago, I finally decided to learn something about photography. I had been snapping photos for years, but had resisted turning the dial on my cameras to “M” – Manual, since I didn’t understand F-stops, apertures, and all that technical camera stuff.
Finally I hired a professional photographer who was traveling around Costa Rica, Sean Davis, to teach me how to use a camera. He ended up selling me my first real camera, a Nikon D200, and spending a couple of days teaching me about depth of field, tricks to reduce camera shake, bracketing, etc. Probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned is why, when, and how to use a polarizing filter to capture photos that look like they were taken by a professional.
Now I carry my good camera wherever I go, despite its hefty weight (now a Canon 7D), because I never want to miss the opportunity to take a great photo. Living here in the jungle, opportunities to see wild animals are still rare, and with my 7D at my side, I’m always just a few seconds away from being able to capture a snake eating a frog, or some perfect lighting on a beach.
The photos in this collection were taken in north Santa Teresa or Playa Hermosa, which is in the Malpais area.
For ten years in a row a Burning Man, I produced in my factory in China a couple thousand Fimo pendants to give away. They are hand made with a very time-consuming sculptural process known as “millifiore.” See a video on how it’s done her: millefiore technique. The technique is thousands of years old, done in glass or ceramic (and sushi) but I was one of the first in the U.S. to help create the art form, and also one of the first to do it commercially (I had built the factory in China in 1993 to do it, but there were factories first in Guatemala and South Africa.)
For the first few years, I designed the pendants myself, often making a variety of sizes, different colors and varieties, and some special items, such as the Alien Love Nest lighters that I gave to all of my fellow firedancers in the Conclave that year. Every year I’d try to outdo myself, but I have to say that the pendants the first couple of years were probably the best. Fimo is very tricky and you never really know what the result is going to be until the end. It’s easy to over-do it and create too much detail, which makes the design lose its vibrancy.Read More