A week in this lovely place inspired a song… I wrote it in Todos Santos and recorded upon our return home. I hope you enjoy. I sure did!
Todos Santos (Falling in Love Again) by Dean Snider
A Story about what’s on the inside…
The exterior held hints of interest. Ancient brick on arched doorways, desert vines growing up a corner wall, strung lights just visible to passers-by, warm terracotta suggesting care and the possibility of life.
The inside, however, is remarkably pleasant. Warm and welcoming smiles and gestures of kindness direct us to a cozy table for two that is seemingly unique and different from every other setting in the room. Mexican paintings and local art proudly adorn this open courtyard under a star-filled sky. A garden borders two-thirds of the room, a giant honeysuckle, a multitude of desert flowers and cacti complement the quaint space.
Once seated, our waiter greets us warmly and gently encourages our uncertain attempts at Spanish. Oscar tells us his name, asks ours, and with just this brief introduction it feels like we have made a new friend. He has been in Todos Santos for only four months after serving in several other locations throughout Mexico, but he finds it peaceful here, not so much of the party scene and with more opportunity for meaningful human contact. He is echoing a sentiment I had shared with Darlene only a few hours earlier. ‘The peace, the tranquility here in Todos Santos’ I had said, ‘the connection to place and to history… artists offering their own work and continuing designs of their grandparents before them’, I had been awestruck and drawn into the magic of this place.
Oscar suggests a meal from the presented menu that sounds just perfect. We accept because he is, of course, already a trusted friend. The food begins to arrive, and we are, for the next two and a half hours, treated to an absolute culinary delight over meaningful conversation, Darlene and I with Oscar joining in welcomed intervals. The full moon rises above the West wall of this interior courtyard and lends its soft glow to the room and our table.
If this had been one night, it would have been spectacular. It was, however, a full week repeated daily at different restaurant locations throughout this unique little town on the West Coast of Sur Baja. About 5000 people live in Todos Santos year around, and others who are drawn to the simple beauty of this provincial treasure join from various locations across the continent.
It is the famed home of the Hotel California, perhaps the one canonized by the Eagles 1976 classic album. The dark desert highway, the ‘cool wind’ and the ‘warm smell of colitis’ were all present. I never did hear the mission bell, but the mission stands, open to all, and offers a lovely, warm and acoustic room, a deeply spiritual place that coaxed a song… moved in me a melodic prayer of gratitude really… that I offered back to the universe.
More than a culinary experience, Todos Santos offered long walks on a beach – five miles of open beach – with almost no one in sight in either direction. Morning coffee watched whales spout and the occasional breach. Sunset witnessed the release of recently hatched Tortugas assisted by a group of trained human helpers ensuring their return to the sea.
This is indeed a special place. Not easily evident upon a first glance. There are only hints at first. But upon closer inspection, after taking time to explore the inside, the heart, and soul of this place, there is depth, character, joy, peace… there is life,… there is love. Here, after taking time to looks around, we found this genuinely remarkable jewel that is Todos Santos.
It strikes me that, as this is true here in this place, it is also true within each of us. We all have an exterior that provides hints of who we are. But our outer shell does not tell our whole unique story and barely even introduced the complete humans that we can be. The internal self, to be known, understood and appreciated, requires taking time to venture inside… to gently explore and to patiently allow its contents to be revealed.
After this fabulous week, a thought occurs to me…
May we take the necessary time to fully explore our own inner selves. As importantly, may we sit together with our loved ones paying close and patient attention as they choose to reveal and open their hearts to us. In this way, we may actually see and fully experience the beautiful and extraordinary lives that we have been graced with, both our own and the lives shared with us.