New life in photos!…Today’s Valentine’s Day in this part of the world…Happy lovers day to all!

Love comes in many forms.

One never knows for sure when they get married, live together, or commit to a long-term relationship how it will manifest after a number of years. We can only hope that the relationship will continue to grow and thrive. Many almost “leave it to chance” in hopes of it surviving through good times and bad.

However, like a garden, it needs to be cultivated and cared for on a daily basis and the treasures harvested will be hearty and constant. Most certainly, weeds will grow from time to time, and occasionally we ‘”forget” to nourish it with water in times of drought. 

Then, we watch it begin to wilt as we rush to set it right, perhaps even overwatering, drowning it with attention and adoration. This is love. Not perfect and, not always romantic but always a part of who we are as individuals and as a couple.

As the mom cleaned up the baby alpaca, another mom and cria born two days earlier came to help and observe. The two-day-old appeared excited to have a playmate. Wait until she/he sees the fifteen babies in the paddock in our back and side yard!

To think that one special day of the year, Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or an anniversary can cement the depth of such love is foolhardy. Celebrating these special occasions need only be a gentle reminder of that which is already firmly implanted into the hearts and minds of the participants.

When Tom was sick this past week, each day I considered canceling our dinner reservation for tonight, worrying he wouldn’t feel up to going out so soon after a week’s illness. He continually insisted we leave the reservation in place. 

Had it been necessary to cancel I wouldn’t have been disappointed to be unable to “celebrate” this Hallmark promoted occasion. I’d only been disappointed that he still wasn’t feeling well. Neither of us requires a special day to express our love and devotion to one another. 

The goal is to get the cria on its feet within 20 minutes of birth to ensure the highest neurological functioning.  If, she didn’t stand, we’d brought along a towel to help as we saw Trish and Neil had done for an earlier birth we witnessed.

As it turns out, he’s totally well again and tonight we’ll head out for our dinner reservation at the positively reviewed restaurant, the Table, according to these reviews on TripAdvisor located in downtown New Plymouth. 

Tomorrow, we’ll post photos of our food, a link to our newly written review on TripAdvisor, and an overall review of our experience, our first night out to dinner since our arrival on January 19th.

A few minutes ago, I walked to the far paddock to see if more of the six remaining pregnant alpacas are in labor and to check on the two new babies. I zoomed in with the camera to check if any of the six were in labor and to observe how the two new crias were doing. All was well. 

We laughed as we watched it tentatively struggle to get on its feet approximately 22 minutes after birth. We decided to continue to watch to ensure all was well.

We’ve been checking every few hours since Trish and Neil left for the weekend, enjoying a little sense of “babysitting” dozens of alpacas, although the neighbors come to feed them bales of hay and bowls of grassy meal scattered about the paddock.

As I walked past them on the short trek down the driveway to the “y” in the road, they approached the thin wire fence chomping on the grass and raised hay containers, happily picking up their heads to look at me. 

They no longer move away as I pass. Their eyes twinkle with acknowledgment and familiarity, shy creatures that they are, as my heart feels a pang of love for these gentle animals. It will be hard to leave them in two months.

A short time later, the cria was on its feet, frequently plopping down to rest as they seem to quiet down a bit in their first 24 hours of life.

Love comes in many forms and for us in our ongoing worldwide travels, we’ve been gifted with the love of one another, the love of wildlife, the love of nature, and the love of the special people we’ve met along the way. We don’t need a heart-shaped box of chocolates or a red card to express our love.

When I came downstairs this morning to find Tom making coffee, his eyes twinkled with acknowledgment, familiarity, and love as he wished me a happy Valentine’s Day…in the same way they do each and every morning of our lives. awe…in love…never taking our lives and each other for granted is the essence of our blessed lives.

Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day today and tomorrow for those in other parts of the world, and have a loving special day each day of the year!

Photo from one year ago today, February 14, 2015:

In Kauai, we discovered this unusual plant which reminded us of sweet corn which appears to be covered in a velvety cloth. It is called the Zamia Furfuracea. Vegetation all over the world is often surprising.  For more photos, please click here.