Today is Pam’s 70th birthday. Honoring seven decades of life on this good earth calls for a special celebration. And although Pam is not fond of surprises, Penny managed to pull one off , much to Pam’s delight.
Our day yesterday began in our modest little Ecuadorian house, the place our hearts call home. A short distance away, less than a mile, is one of the most beautiful hotel and spa compounds in South America. Our little town of Cotacachi is home to La Mirage, a haven of luxury and tranquility. From its one-of-a-kind rooms to its five-star restaurant, from its gardens populated with peacocks to its solar-heated spa pool, this is a place where every need is anticipated and met with a level of graciousness that is unsurpassed. We don’t often get pampered in this life, but this was a day for pampering.
A short taxi ride brought us to the front doors of La Mirage, where we were welcomed with a cool drink and shown to a room scattered with rose petals and dominated by a huge brass canopy bed. Moments after our arrival, a lovely Indigenous woman came to our door with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries, and Operation Pampering had officially begun.
First on the agenda was a delightful lunch overlooking the Peacock Gardens, where two peahens surveyed us from the windowsill. One of the owners stopped by to chat, and after lunch we spent the afternoon in the spa, swimming and relaxing.
Warmed by the sun and later lulled by the sound of a gentle rain on the roof, we passed the afternoon in complete peace, our only responsibilities deciding what to eat and when to go for another swim.
As evening drew near, we made our way through the gardens to the restaurant, and were met for dinner by our dear friends, DJ and Cindy.
Our candlelit table looked out into the gardens, where the male peacocks serenaded us in an attempt to catch the attention of the disinterested peahens. Also joining us for our dinner was Anita the goldfish in her crystal bowl.
Both the food and the service were impeccable. Four gourmet courses later, we were just beginning our dessert when the staff appeared with a lovely little birthday cake for Pam, complete with a burning candle and a chorus of “Happy Birthday” in both English and Spanish. We ended our day filled to the brim in many, many ways.
Turning seventy gives one pause to consider one’s life and reflect upon the blessings and challenges of seven decades. My life has been, and still is, filled with people who loved me, challenged me, and believed in me. I have worked in professions and have volunteered with organizations that I believe add to the Yes in the world. Like all of us, I have made mistakes and faced obstacles, but there have also been times when I got it right, and managed to overcome hurdles and become stronger. I’ve seen enough of the beauty in the world to convince me that there is beauty everywhere, if only we have eyes to see it.
Yes, every day is a gift. Seven decades of days is a huge gift. To quote John Denver, “I have to say it now, it’s been a good life all in all.”