Friday, May 21, 2004


falls from roomCuppa and I have just returned from spending our thirty-fifth anniversary at Niagara Falls. We stayed at the Sheraton and had a magnificent view of The Falls right from our room, which looked directly over the Horseshoe Falls. Ground level of the hotel is well above the waterfall, and we were another eighteen floors up, yet, even so, the spray plume sometimes wafted high above us. Like the kids say: awesome!

We experienced some fine-dining at the hotel restaurant, also over-looking The Falls. For the first and last time in our lives we ordered chateaubriand for two. The feast came with two appetizers and dessert, so we were barely able to waddle back to our room afterward. It was a wonderful dinner and a highlight, but it is somewhat dampened by my tendency to experience nagging guilt over spending that much money on a solitary meal. It seems decadent and wasteful; the same amount of money could feed a typical third-world family for months. At the outset of the celebration, I told myself not to fret over such things for this one weekend – one weekend out of a lifetime. But I still feel a tinge of uneasiness in my spirit. I know that this sort of high life is how the well-heeled live on a perpetual basis, and I wonder how they manage to justify such ongoing conspicuous consumption?

two butterfliesThe other highlight was the Butterfly Conservatory. How magnificent to walk through a tropical garden with many hundreds of butterflies of several dozen species flitting about, sometimes landing on a person and blessing them. Sue and I snapped our cameras furiously. I sometimes worry that I might miss some of the joy of the moment when I get consumed with picture-taking, but I try to stay in balance and live in the moment too.

Life is about many things: balance is one of them. I think the occasional splurge is fine as long as it remains occasional and that one truly appreciates one’s good fortune. And it’s okay to take a bunch of photos as long as one can enjoy the moment too. Photos are for memories, but we have to experience something when we are physically there in order for the photos to elicit any poignancy when we thumb through our albums years later.

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