The drummers have begun the drum-drumming away in preparation for the festivities which began this past weekend. El Dia De los Muertos , and Independence from Columbia as well and flag day or colon day were first up and Independence from Spain is up next. There was a parade on the 3rd and the big Disco tech was booming lots ear piercing music until all hours of the early morning. The town has been decked out with streamers and dressed up for the many celebrations. Its fun to see the town Square transformed into a huge party for one and all. It seems like one can almost feel the energy of all the people coming together for their mutual celebrations this month. The town of Boquete is a vacation spot for Panamanian tourists, many from the city. I think its like going to Lake Tahoe for a big holiday. Escaping the big city and enjoying the cool, crisp mountain air. I remember doing just that when we used to visit the beautiful mountains in Tahoe or Yosemite. This little mountain hamlet is very similar to those lovely mountain towns.
All the restaurants and Inns and hotels and hostels are gearing up for their high season. It all begins this weekend and will continue through December. As we drive over the main bridge in town we can really begin to see signs of tourists arriving . I love to see the endless ’selfies’ being taken by young and old alike on the bridge overlooking the rushing river below. It’s very picturesque and it’s nice to see that the beauty of this place is not lost on the locals! I have to chuckle sometimes as I drive by the families and young couples all taking their pictures on the bridge, its not unlike driving across the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge…a little smaller and a little less… ummm… ‘golden’, not really any sail boats in the distance, but there’s a similar sense of joy that people here seem to find in capturing a memory of being together in a place of beauty and wonder.
This little mountain town is just that…a Place of Beauty and Wonder! I never tire of the natural beauty that surrounds me here in Boquete. I wonder if there’ll ever be a day when I awaken to a new day and I don’t look out my window and smile. I wonder if I’ll ever breath in the fresh mountain air without appreciating how blessed I feel to live here. Will there come a day when I drive around this wonderful place without noticing the tons of bromeliads growing in the trees, or the endless varieties of flowers on the side of the road? Will the birdsong outside my windows fade away from my ears and will I ever begin to lose interest in the endless shades of green I see from my terrace. I surly hope not. As the tons of Panamanian tourists begin to pour into our little pueblo I find myself really feeling blessed to have been provided the opportunity to make my home here. While I stand aside and watch as the Panamanians celebrate all the many reasons they feel pride for their homeland I find myself finding my own quiet reasons to celebrate this place.
As I observe the many celebrations going on around me I feel the need to embrace a celebration of my own. My celebration is a quiet one, a personal celebration that envelopes my heart and doesn’t need a parade or fireworks. My holiday doesn’t need presents or a party. No decorating is necessary for my own little holiday. I don’t really have a name for my celebration, its not on the calendar and doesn’t include any crowds or big gatherings. As a matter of fact my holiday isnt just once a year and its a celebration that sneaks up on me when I don’t even know it. My quiet little celebration takes place in my heart on days like today when I look out my window and feel grateful for where I am. Not only do I feel so much gratitude for ‘where’ I am, but for all the people who are here with me. I smile to myself on these occasions.
Sometimes my quiet personal holiday is suddenly upon me as I sip my coffee in the fresh new morning. And then there are the times when I’m just looking out the window with my head on my pillow, quietly looking at the new day awakening outside, the sun shining through the trees. And then there are those times in the evenings, usually around ‘happy hour’, when Scott and I have had a busy day and we’re enjoying a glass of wine out on the terrace. Often the sun is beginning to set, or the thick fog is rolling through the valley below as the hummers are buzzing all around the feeders gobbling up the last meal of the day. My heart celebrates during times like these.
We’ve not really observed any of the traditions from the States since living here. Aside from cooking a Thanksgiving meal with our friends last year, we really haven’t felt inclined to continue with much in the way of ’tradition’ from our past years of holidays. We haven’t had a Christmas tree, we didn’t carve a pumpkin, no Valentines dinner at a fancy restaurant, and we haven’t even bought each other Birthday Presents . I haven’t missed any of it at all. I haven’t missed the build up of commercialism that surrounded us in the States this time of year. We don’t watch TV and so haven’t seen any of the build up that comes for each holiday throughout the year. Whew! What a refreshing relief that is.
Although we’ll always hold onto many fond memories of holidays past, I must admit before making this move I was beginning to feel very disillusioned by the lack of connectivity I felt with the people I cared most about in my life. This was not the fault of anyone but me. My life was consumed by financial worries and I felt as though I was drowning under all the debt, especially as the holidays came around. By the time we had decided to make this move I craved a more simplistic holiday with my family and friends. I wanted nothing more than time with them. I wished all the pomp and circumstance could just fade into the background and that the focus could be on each other as human beings and not so much on the consumption of material possessions. I loved the gathering together and I loved sharing experiences with the people in my life. Nowadays, it seems I have just what I craved for , I have time to focus on things other than the expectations of traditions that have been morphed into what the media would have us believe is most important, the mindless consumption of material possessions. All this comes to mind as the holidays approach.
As you can tell the beginning of the holiday season here in Panama has made me think about my own feelings about celebrations. Celebrations of the past and of the present. Does it really matter ‘how’ or ‘what’ we choose to celebrate? Even though we haven’t outwardly observed many of the traditions from our past, we do still observe them in our hearts. In our own quiet way we celebrate and hold on to warm memories of celebrations from years gone by. And who knows, there may come a day when we unpack the dreaded fake Christmas tree that Scott tried to talk me into abandoning before our move! hah! And, you can be sure I didn’t get rid of ALL of my Hollyween decorations! They will surface one of these days, of this I’m sure! Many of our belongings are still in storage so I suspect when the day comes and we finally get to open all our boxes we’ll very likely have a bit more opportunity to at least break out a few holiday decorations. Of course my Christmas music seems to have disappeared…hmmmm….(rubbing my chin in curious speculation about who could have ‘misplaced’ all that holiday cheer??? SCOTT???).
For me, as we enter this time of year I feel celebratory for each new day. I feel like marching in my very own parade through this new life we’re creating for ourselves here. And my heart nearly bursts when I think of all the things I’m grateful for nowadays. Between the endless natural beauty all around me that I can’t even begin to express my love for, my sweet dog Scruffy, who is my newest love, all the crazy fun, cool new friends who have become my family here, so many new experiences, good and bad that make me grow in ways I never even thought would be possible, and this Amazing Adventure that Scott and I have embraced together building a new life in this beautiful place….As you can see I’m bursting with things to Celebrate! So, yeah, it’s the beginning of the Holiday Season and all over the world people are finding their own personal, and traditional reasons to celebrate. As I write this post I’m beginning to think that my own holiday may not be limited to November and December. When everyone else is done with the traditional celebrations I think I’ll just continue on with my quiet little observances of what makes me feel like celebrating. I know, I’m a sap, and this post sounds kinda like a blubbering crazy person…but…shrug…gotta be me! hah! Life is Good!