by Susanna Starr
Although many of us certainly understand the concept of being here now, the mind still likes to travel and takes us on many trips, many to places that we’ve already visited. Being at Casa Estrella, on the shore of the magical Laguna Bacalar, is a place I often revisit in my mind. The astounding colors of the water, the pristine clarity and the gentle, soothing sound of the waves against the shoreline, is a never ending source of delight.
But that’s not all…..each day brings new discoveries in the opening of various exotic flowers, the growth of the different plantings, the feeling of spaciousness in the lawn that extends to the water’s edge. Each day, on my morning walk, I gather the hibiscus, the bougainvillea and the amazing bird of paradise blossoms, which I add to the colorful arrangements of various leaves from the immense variety of plants, and place them in each room. At night, the delicious perfumes of jasmine, of Juan de la Noche, of gardenia and lime and orange blossoms fill the air with their subtle fragrances. There are plants in the master bathroom garden, more rare, that blossom only once or twice a year but when they do, their perfume is intense.
Each room has been designed to feature hand made furniture of exotic hardwoods, hand loomed textiles and all kinds of art to please the eye and the hand. The spacious main bedroom also acts as an office and being able to look out at the water, or watch the breeze blow the palm fronds, or just listen to the sounds of the birds, makes working at the computer almost as nice an experience as lying down on the chaise on the terraza. Is it only in my memory that the weather seems to be perfect always? Even when it’s windy, it’s so protected on the terraza, that the wind isn’t intrusive. So, I can just continue to read, and be part of the environment, with no intrusions from the outside world. This gives me the unique opportunity to go inward, to simply be quiet. Some might call it relaxing, which it is, but for me it’s something more – it’s my own form of meditation. Sometimes I see physical results of this time at the house, like the collection of small paintings I did that continue to give me pleasure.
Another time of being there produced a couple of hundred pages of writing that will some day become part of a memoir. But I know that other things are going on as well, even when they have not yet made themselves manifest. When those times of occasional restlessness occur, I remind myself of this, that the quiet time is important, too. Having no agenda, waking up to each day satisfied to watch it unfold, without my overt direction, requires a shift, an “allowing.” For some people, travel means going to new places, having new experiences, meeting new people, tasting new foods, visiting different cultures, having adventures. Maybe it’s because I feel satisfied that I’ve already done much of this, that I appreciate the feeling I have in my “other” home. My particular need is to be plugged into the beauty of the natural environment. It’s a never-ending source of awe, giving me that sense of great appreciation and gratitude that provides the nourishment for my spirit.