And just like that, it is the last day here in paradise. It seems like it was so long ago that we set off to get here and were surprised by fabulous lasagna we had en route at that river rat hang out, now ages past. We have had a great time here at this amazing place, but the days have run together like a water color, blending and swirling the days and hours into a unnamed hue and it is one that will never be seen again. It is simply an ephemeral experience to be here at this lodge because time is elastic and the reality of the outside world is held in check for the period we are here. This lodge, this bit of heaven is a Shangra-La, an Avalon, often shrouded in clouds, a sanctuary from the world out there beyond the mists, with a magic that is broken only by choice in opening the newspaper or checking your emails. It is quite possible to be here for days with no outside communication, if you want to, and to just be here in this oasis of quiet, where the sounds of the butterfly wing beats and the chirps of the Gold Finches are the loudest noises to disturb the peace.
It took us a while to learn how to be here. This is not your typical hotel. There are no televisions and what telephone signals there are, are very sketchy at best. Internet is available, if you want to bridge some of the gap to the other world that lives outside the boundaries of this place, but most folks do little connecting time. The difference here is that there is the lodge, the center point and focus of being here. It is where all of the guests meet to take meals together, where it is comfortable to grab a book and kick your shoes off with a room of folks who are doing the same thing. It is a place where it is possible to be able to get into the quiet of your own mind and yet be instant friends with the person sitting next to you. There is a simpatico with folks who come here. Most are outdoor focused, interested in nature, art, doing outdoor adventures, and who do not miss the constant barrage of information that intrudes our lives at home, most of which is horrible news leaving us in a daily wallow of high stress levels about things we have little control over.
When you turn your car into the driveway of the lodge and pass the moss covered little pump house at the base of the hill, it is suddenly quiet, like the quiet of a sanctuary before the service. There is an instant reverence felt as the car shifts to another gear to make it up to the top of the mountain driveway. The drive is steep and takes effort to climb, and then once at the top the sound of the gravel drive is soothing and says, you are safe and at home. The swing of the screened door and the feeling of entering the foyer is unlike any place I have been. Perhaps it is because we have been here so many times that I feel this relaxed energy, and I have become patterned to feel this, but I think the site, this building, and this mountain are the reason, and I think most who come here feel the same. It is this undefinable feeling that bonds the guests for the moments they are here and it drops the barriers of unfamiliarity. It has always been a great place to spend my birth week and this one was maybe, the best so far.
My birthday dinner, the other night, was capped off with a gorgeous cake made just for me by the chef, and hand delivered by Robert, the owner. It was a white cream cake with luscious layers upon layers of cream, cake, and strawberry jam, covered in toasted slivered almonds and topped with strawberries dipped in white chocolate. We finished what was left, off last night and I shared it with any one in the dinning room, passing among new friends whose names I did not know.
Over the past days Mark has continued sharing his photography knowledge to those who have asked questions and who have wanted to learn more about their cameras and how to take nicer photos. After class there is the sack lunch time, which we have spent usually sitting in the screened summer house, with friends, mulling over what to do with the remaining hours of the day. We have hiked, and we have canoed in a deep and clear blue lake where the water met the tree lined edge of the mountains and rose from there. I have fed the new chickens, in their newly built coup, blades of grass and have laughed at their silliness as they have jockeyed to get the grass away from the hen who first grabs it. I have marveled at the organic garden, so full of vegetables which make it to our plates each night for dinner, and at how the cooler temps here make working in a garden pleasant and fun as opposed to drudgery and toil in our humidity and heat back home. I have read and I have
The inn keeper was taking reservation calls the other day and I over heard him trying to explain to a person on the other end who was planning to drive a six hour journey to this place for just one night only, and who wanted to know what the night life was like. Robert was tactfully trying to tell them that this was a very remote place and that the disco balls and rock and roll were not part of the scenery here. I wonder what these people will think when they get here. Will they get it? Or, will they sit bored, wondering how to entertain themselves and be angry because they simply can not? I will not know because, sadly, it is our time to leave tomorrow.
But for today, we are still here. I am happy and feeling the joy of breathing. Perhaps we will go back to the lake again today, who knows. There is no agenda to our remaining hours. Reality will hit soon enough once we head down the driveway to head home, but for now, it is all good. A very happy birth day was had by me, with hopes for many more. My birthday wish is for more to be had here, but that, is for fate to decide. We shall see.