There’s no better moment than right now. Here I am relaxing on a rustic lounge chair, looking at a favorite mountain, throughly relishing this experience. Why?
I’m at my idea of Heaven on Earth—Rancho La Puerta—celebrating a 70th birthday of a very special and long time friend. And while reaching 70 and spending it at a Fitness Resort is no insignificant accomplishment, this one is especially poignant.
For you see, my friend, and I have been coming here for years to appreciate fact we have both survived life threatening illnesses. We were both diagnosed with icky health problems somewhere around turning 40.
In fact, about 14 years ago, we left the Ranch with words unsaid but not unthought, that we might not return together. Kathy needed a liver transplant as a result of a long battle with an auto-immune disease.
At that visit, she could barely make the lovely walk to the dining hall for the special vegetarian and organic meals. She slept in late when I went for hikes. She took naps when I did pilates and spin and stretching. I think she fell asleep during mediation. She was a very sick lady.
As we were leaving, she said, “Sue, I want to come back and climb that mountain with you.”
“You got it,” my instant response.
We planned to climb to the special tree shown below.
So I got a wonderful image of the mountain, cut out photos of us in exercise clothes and pasted them on the mountain and framed it in a cheerful red frame, showing us meeting that goal. She kept the photo close at hand during the two years of waiting for a liver transplant and the recovery time afterwards.
Within a couple of years after her “Gift of Life” we made it back to the Ranch, and while it was a struggle, we climbed the mountain (or at least part of it) and took our pictures to mark the day. I couldn’t put my hands on that photo so I am including one of her daughter and good friend who recently made the trek.
Talk about a meaningful place! An incredible moment.
We’ve been back to the Ranch a couple times since but no time is sweeter than this. Kathy and I are celebrating her major birthday. She’s playing tennis, walking two miles to the organic garden and might even take a hola hoop class. She enjoys her grandchildren and loves traveling with her now retired husband.
Yep…..I’m relishing this moment.
Or you might enjoy Rancho La Puerta: Heaven On Earth.