No need for an ocean view with a private, tranquil garden to live in. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Last summer Jill sent me a text saying they would not be letting anyone stay in their casista in Todos Santos because of COVID. Robert, her husband, said not so fast–let’s invite Kathryn, she’s family.

I didn’t spend much time thinking about my answer. I had already decided not to go back to my sister and brother-in-law’s place in Baja because my dog, AJ, could no longer navigate stairs. I was undecided about my plans for the fall. This offer solidified them.

Jill and Robert with their dogs Rubi and Pepper. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Property-mates—it was the best living situation I’ve had with friends.

Same property, different buildings. An incredible garden separated us. The bonus is that it was edible. Papaya, mango, and banana trees along with the vines of passion fruit clearly are wonderful for eating, but they were also beautiful to look at. Then there were the raised beds. The eggplant would not stop producing. (I may never need to eat another eggplant the rest of my life.) Unfortunately, I left too soon to benefit from the tomato harvest, which from the previous two years I knew would be prolific and sweet.

Comfortable outdoor area at the casita was also an ideal yoga location. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Several Bismarck palm trees dotted the landscape. It was like silvery fans quacking in the breeze. They hovered over the more common aloe and other desert flora. This creation was Robert’s doing, but something he and Jill took pride in.

Fortunately, the dogs—AJ, Rubi and Pepper—got along just fine. Pepper was aloof toward both of us, but finally warmed up to me and was happy to get a massage. Rubi is much more social, and even tried to get into the casita a few times.

The garden seemed to have something new to admire every week. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

The living arrangement was ideal because it was like being with people but not. We each had our own dwelling, so there was no getting in the way of each other. We shared meals on occasion. Catching up during “toddy time” on their porch was a ritual several times a week. We each brought our beverage of choice, though sometimes that, too, was shared.

Jill and Robert’s casita is a perfect winter home. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

This together time underscored the need no matter my living situation to carve out time when electronics or something else is not the focus. Just talking. Just being. Human interaction. Caring about each other’s day. Solving the world’s problems. Conversations sometimes more mundane. It was bonding, deepening friendships, creating memories.

The only negative about the whole situation was it ended too soon.

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