Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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A woman of a certain age.

From where I sit…

There is no end to paradise.

There is no end to the beauty and mystery of Mexico.

After a day of travel, we arrived last night in Huatulco. Jordan, son of the Villas FaSol Manager, Gerrado, met us at the airport, his smile and hugs welcoming, to transport us to the resort.

Tucked into the shoreline in the Bahia Conejos just south of Hautulco, Villas FaSol is the perfect, ‘home away from home’. White washed domed roofs á la Mediterranean stand tall, etched against cloudless blue skies in a lush tropical garden. Below, the surf ebbs and flows into the bay, splashing up against rock strewn shoreline and a tiny, perfectly groomed, sandy beach.

The air has already heated up to day time highs, its full force softened by a gentle breeze that rustles through the palm trees and caressing my skin as it passes by reminding me of a story I wrote long ago for my daughters. it was called The WindStory Tree. In that story, the wind circled the globe collecting stories which it brought to a tall tree, a proud tree, a tree of many branches that stood in the middle of the prairies where a boy and girl lived within its sheltering branches listening to the stories of the wind.

The breeze here is like that. Carrying stories, tempting my mind to stop thinking so I can hear the beat of my heart calling me to dance, to laugh, to sing out loud and dive beneath the waters in the Bahia Conejos in search of octopus and lobster like the young men I can see from the deck where I sit in the shade watching the waters ebb in and out, in and out.

This is definitely paradise continued. No end in sight.

Our two daughters are back home safely in Canada. I feel the lack of their presence, the missing of my YaYa time in the early hours of the day.

And I smile as my heart remembers. In paradise there is no lack. No need to miss someone. In paradise there is only a joyful heart full of gratitude for the time spent together, building memories, building stories to tell the next time we see each other, or as they say in Mexico, hasta que nos encontremos de nuevo mi corazón está lleno de recuerdos tuyos”. ” (Until we meet again my heart is full of memories of you”)  Okay. I don’t really know if they say that in Spanish but it sounds pretty and I like it because it’s true. My heart is full of beautiful memories of time spent with those I love.

C.C. and I have no plans today. No expectations. Aside from grabbing a taxi into the town centre to walk around old Huatulco, lunch on a patio, we shall rest and relax savouring time together under the Mexican sun as I explore this new era into which I officially am subscribed as of yesterday when my years on earth added up to becoming a ‘senior’.

I don’t know what my 65’s and beyond will bring though C.C. and I chatted this morning over a beautiful breakfast on the deck about ‘the future’. I do know that whatever time brings me, I am blessed with family and friends, good health and work that continues to inspire me.

But, as I asked him this morning, I wonder what awaits if I choose to explore a different path?

Bedmates — looks and smells beautifully

It is the gift of this age I am embracing. There are no limits to what I can do when I let go of thinking of myself as a ‘woman of a certain age’ and step instead into the full power of being a woman of this amazing age where I am the dreamer and the dream-maker, the story-teller and the story-maker, the creator and the creative, the writer of my own journey.

Lived in Love, there is no other journey to take, no other place to be than where I am right now, not asking Mary Oliver’s question, “What will you do with this one wild and precious life” but living it wildly to my heart’s content.

Namaste.

 

 

 


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Filled with gratitude and love — life is grand

Photo by Alexis M

C.C. and I are sitting at Cabo Airport this morning waiting for our flight to Mexico City and then Huatulco where we will spend the next 8 days enjoying more sun, sand and surf.

It was a parting of sweet sorrow this morning. After 9 days treasuring every moment together, Alexis, Liseanne, their partners and my grandson left to return north to Canada while C.C. and I travel further south in Mexico.

It was a beautiful week.

Photo by Alexis M

From seeing whales from the upper deck of the house, to stingray flapping the water, turkey vultures circling the waves as we rode horses down the beach and baby turtles waddling through the sand towards the sea, it was a time of special moments spent with those we love, our family. Though, as Alexis said last night as we sat around savouring Churros and vanilla ice cream and Chocolate molten cake from Guaycara Restaurant, it would have been perfect if C.C.’s son and daughter had been there too.

There are so many moments that filled my heart to overflowing.

Cabo Airport domestic terminal

On our first Sunday, we arose early to walk the beach and then head to town in search of a good cup of Java which we found at Taller 17, a delightful bakery/coffee shop in the town centre. At 2pm, Alexis and Liseanne told me they had organized a professional photographer to come and take family photos that afternoon. When Marianna arrived we went back to the town and had photos at Hotel California, one of the town’s more ‘infamous’ locales. We wandered the streets feeling like paparazzi as Marianna followed our footsteps snapping photos everywhere we went. And then, the penultimate photo opportunity, a private releasing of sea turtles on the beach, just down from our house.

There is something so exquisitely beautiful and poignant about these tiny endangered species and their journey into adulthood. The mother’s have travelled north up the shore to avoid the more populated areas to the south of the peninsula. In an effort to protect the eggs and to foster greater success in the tiny babies surviving the treacherous walk to the sea once hatched, volunteers have created a turtle sanctuary on the beach directly in front of the house we rented. For a small fee, every evening, you can help release the babies and hopefully, watch it and protect it on its journey to the water.

One in 100 babies survive to adulthood. Not great odds for a species of which there are only 2500 alive on the planet today.

It was a transcendent moment to watch our 10 month old grandson laughing and chortling as we stood together on the other side of the line the turtle guide drew to show us where to stand before releasing the turtles. As the tide rolled in, on the signal of our guide, we adults each placed the coconut shell we’d been given with a baby inside onto the sand and gently as possible, without touching its body (skin oils inhibit its ability to survive) and coaxed the turtle out of the shell. We cheered each turtle as our grandson clapped and cheered, supported by his dad. 

Thurlow is just on the brink of walking. Like the baby turtles, his journey to adulthood is just beginning. As I watched my daughter and son-in-love coax and protect his steps this week, I was reminded always of the turtles’ and their journey to the sea and the many dangers they must face in order to survive. Thurlow’s journey is not nearly as treacherous nor dubious. He is always safe and surrounded by his parent’s loving care.

I am grateful.

We fly south to Huatulco today.

My heart is full and though I shall miss them all, we have already arranged to visit for New Year’s in Vancouver.

I am so blessed.


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Oh No! Don’t let the rain come down.

It rained last night. No. That’s not quite accurate. It poured. A torrential downpour that soaked the parched earth and, not so happily, inside our house.

At midnight, the thunder rolled across the sky making sleep impossible. Nature created a light show that danced across the dark in streaks of yellow and gold, illuminating the night

At 2am, the wind had shifted and suddenly, Alexis and James’ bed was drenched. A reconnoiter of the house showed numerous leaks in the roof that drip drip dripped onto the couch in the family area, the kitchen and the hallway upstairs. The wind lashed against the glass doors of our bedroom drenching the floor in several places.

James, Alexis and I scurried around finding buckets, pans, bowls and a mop. Somehow, the other three slept on.

Clean up, or at least stop the flow, completed, we went back to  bed. But our senses were on alert.

Outside, the wind continued to howl, the rain to pour and the surf to crash.

By 5am, it was all over.

“It’s the equivalent of a snow day in Connecticut,” Aaron, the house manager said when he came to survey the damage. “Everything in town is pretty well shut down as people clean up the mess.”

Aaron manages six homes. He’s been up since dawn navigating puddle ridden dirt roads like the one at the end of which our house sits. “It’s passable,” he said. “But you gotta go slow.”

We had waited to call him until after a walk on the beach. Not much could be done at that point. We’d mopped up the floors and dumped the buckets and pans. Why worry about a call that could be made anytime when the sky was breaking black to grey and blue and white with streaks of sun shimmering through and the surf was crashing into the sand in frothy white waves that rolled and broiled and fell onto itself in its rush to reach the sand?

Lele, Tim and I walked the beach while Alexis and James and Thurlow napped. C.C.  hadn’t yet woken up. He can sleep through everything. I am often envious.

The morning awakens after the storm. A whale spouts as it swims past. The not so wild, left to run free horses walk slowly past the house, taking the trail down to the beach. A white heron walks slowly through the grass before taking flight.

Above, the sky is lightening as the clouds roll away and the sun begins to dry up the puddles. In our yard, a pile of coconuts lie at the base of a palm tree, torn down by the wind during the night. There are leaves everywhere but the puddles that filled the drive have already started to dry up, soaking into the sandy soil.

It’s a house day today. the girls are hoping to catch some rays and work on their tans.

The men are hoping to lie by the pool and relax.

For now, Lele and Tim have ventured into town, curious to see how rough the dirt road leading from the house to the main street really is. It’s not great in good conditions. It will be fascinating to see how it is now! They’re also off in search of latte’s and breakfast treats, though Aaron has warned us most stores are closed today.

Alexis is taking a shower, James is having a nap. C.C. plays with Thurlow and I am contemplating the day and the night’s adventures.

It was a rough one, but we all survived and in its wake, I am reminded once again how, no matter the weather, life is beautiful when shared with family.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 


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Building memories to last a lifetime

Photo by James M

We have developed a pattern here at the house on the beach in Todos Santos.

Early morning is YaYa time with my grandson. My son-in-love waits to hear me making coffee in the kitchen before bringing Thurlow up so that he and my daughter can grab another hour of sleep.  I don’t tell him how I anticipate this treasured time alone with Thurlow. It is Thurlow and my secret

Alone, Thurlow and I climb up to the third floor deck and watch the waves crash into the shore and then come back down and sit on the floor as he explores the world around him. We laugh and sing and clap hands and he bobs and weaves his tiny body dancing to the rhythm of his tiny world. I wonder if he can hear my heart dancing.

I feed him breakfast and eventually, the rest of the house rises and the day begins as I let go of my treasured time.

This morning, my daughters and I were going riding. It is the second ride for my youngest daughter and me since arriving on Saturday. Alexis’ first.

We rode through palm groves and then along the beach, our bodies relaxing into the steady gait of our horses as a wind blew in from the ocean and the surf crashed into the sand, washing our horse’s footprints away. It is hot and muggy. My heart is light, dancing with the pure delight of spending time with my two favourite women, my daughters, doing something I have always loved. Riding.

Above us, in the ever darkening sky, turkey vultures glided on the wind and beautiful white egrets watched our passing from their perches in the trees lining the edge of the river where it meets the sea. We pass by and they spread their wings swooping down to the water and then soaring back up into the sky. They are beautiful to watch.

And then, we left the beach and climbed up into the hills past flowering cacti, sampled sweet, sweet chilli peppers from a wild cactus bush and stopped at the high point to see if we could spot any whales. Two days ago, when we rode by this point we watched a whale slide by from above, the only sign of his passing the spray of his spout and the grey of his body sliding through the brilliant blue water. Today the water is gunmetal grey and moody. My favourite kind of sea.

We rode back down the rocky trail on the far side of the mountain, through palm groves redolent with the smells of fresh rain and bougainvillea flowers cascading to the ground. We crossed a river, our horses easily stepping through silent water up the far bank and back to the corral and through it all my heart kept dancing.

It was a day to laugh and chat and share and be. Together.

Back at the house, we showered and changed and left the men in charge of my grandson and drove into town for lunch. I almost had to stop driving at one point as the pounding of my heart drowned out my daughters’ voices and tears welled up into my eyes. I love you both so much, I told them, and they laughed and did that daughter thing of rolling their eyes and laughing before telling me how they love me too, and can we please go for lunch now? And we did after stopping at the bakery for fresh bread for the house and then a delightful ladies’ shop where I bought a new scarf (Like you really need another scarf mom they both teased) and a handbag that Alexis hopes she gets for her birthday and then we went for lunch at the rooftop sky lounge at Guaycura where the view of the red rooftops of Todos Santos tucked within lush green palms and flowering leading down to the sweeping sea made us gasp at the sheer beauty of the view.

Photo by Alexis M

We ordered Nachos and wine and laughed and chatted and teased as the sky above grew darker and darker until the rain began to fall in earnest and we scurried for cover by the bar, laughing with the pure pleasure of being together as the rain danced on the fabric of the roof cover, falling onto our table through the cracks between each panel. We didn’t care if we got wet. This was a day for pure delight, of hearts beating together and love flowering like the verdant forests all around.