27 January 2012

Wildflowers and Waterfalls - The Perfect Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday, double 66's. My daughter, who lives here in Trinidad's Northern Rain Forest,  orchestrated a wonderful day for me and now that I have the magic combination of electricity, phone connection and internet all together, I wanted to share it with you.

The day started with what has been affectioately nicknamed "muffin bread"- made by my daughter, loved by my grands and now by me. Together with coffee and foamed milk, and a flower from the garden, it made for a good start to the day.

How about a drink made from flower petals boiled with cloves and fresh nutmeg from a tree nearby? It's sorrel, a popular beverage this time of year. It's a lovely jewel red color and I just love the whole idea of drinking flowers.

My birthday present from my daughter was a hike to a local waterfalls that I hadn't yet seen. My granddaughter accompanied us. Along the way my granddaughter picked wildflowers for me to make my birthday bouquet. She was excited by all the bright colors she found. I felt like a queen.

The destination of our hike was a series of five waterfalls reached by climbing up the river that connects them. We've had LOTS of rain since I arrived so the river is full and rushing with strong current. It meant that we had to scamper up rocks or bush to the side at times rather than always stay in the river. But I figured if my five year old granddaughter could do it so could I.

The reward for the challenging climb however was this beautiful sight, the fifth waterfalls, carved into a half moon cave and thunderous from recent rain. Our decision to bathe naked in the pool at the foot of the falls was modified somewhat, at least for me, when I felt the cold breeze blowing down the gorge. I backed into it as far as I could before getting too cold to continue. My daughter was far braver than I even through her screams.

A gorgeous, secluded spot. A perfect present. I felt exhilarated and rejuvenated. 

My granddaughter took this photo of me with my daughter at the top- sweaty, dirty, tied but very happy.

My second best present was this photo in the front yard with my grands, ages nine and a half and almost six. Their agreement to one smile a day in a photo was extra special on my special day. My daughter printed this and framed it for me to take home. Precious.

Add to this the fun of playing "Plants vs Zombies" with the grands and learning all kinds of new strategies, coloring with my granddaughter who is seriously into drawing and coloring these days, having home made pizza for lunch, my grands making brownies, the birthday treat I requested, sharing a delicious dinner made by my daughter from produce grown by her husband in their organic garden with three researchers living in a second house on their property who research the mating rituals of hermit hummingbirds and the lek- specific dialects they sing, and finally, in a rare occurrence, beating my daughter in Scrabble. 

I even connected to facebook and email long enough to be inundated with well wishes from around the world and an e card from my Honey. Perfect birthday. I feel loved and grateful for my life.

[Writing this in dial- up internet land is a long process that I am nevertheless glad to be able to do after my hiatus from blogging and my blog friends. The first post mysteriously disappeared when I changed the original title so I've added further details to this post in my eagerness to connect with you again.]