Baja Easter Emptiness

I awoke today, not sure if I was hot or cold, half under the pile of comfy covers, pillows cradling my head. I laid still with my eyes closed, listening to the cactus wrens calling back and forth. There’s a heavy smell of dew in the air which makes the dust layer smell sweet, like fresh dug dirt. The fans that keep us comfortable all night, are still whirring silently in the background. Gandaulf rustles and turns over with a huge sigh. It’s morning in El Pescadero, Baja California Sur.

I sit up, rub my eyes, and peel off the layers of blankets, fluff my pillows and sit bleary eyed for a second before the alarm goes off. It’s Easter Sunday and the washboard road below camp is strangely quiet. The sun is now high in the morning sky which reveals the dark shadows of the marine layer clinging to the shoreline, obscuring the wave break. The sky above is clear blue and hurries the fog away with the help of the blazing sun. It’s gonna be a hot, humid day.

Gandaulf greets me with a smile, kisses and flops over for belly rubs, then bounds across the bed and onto the cabinet, waiting patiently to be set down on the floor. The door is flung open and out hops Gandaulf and in floods the damp morning air.

The humidity immediately makes my bare skin feel damp and clammy. I take a deep breath and welcome the day.

I can smell the coffee wafting through the heavy morning air. Just the smell energizes my senses. I pull on some loose fitting clothes, since everything is damp, and step into the sun. There is no mistaking that we are closer to the equatorial sun. My bare skin feels the intense heat and I quickly retreat to shade. Chris and Gandaulf are nowhere to be seen so I stare off into nothingness and I drift away.

I begin daydreaming. This last month has been an exploratory journey for us. Why we ever feared crossing the border is beyond me. Perhaps it was the fear of the unknown, the language barrier, if I am honest…it was just plain fear. Fear of what, I now ask myself, having reached the southern tip of Baja without any major incidents.

In all my wildest dreams, I never thought the day would come when I could escape the cold, follow the sun, be a free spirit and not worry about ‘what’s next?’ I feel that I deserve this slice of peaceful life. A full life…full of new experiences, new friends, new places, new joy and triumph over anything I allowed to hold me back.

I look at our tiny home and feel a sense of pride. It has been our home for ten months. Our blood, sweat and tears poured into this metal shell. It’s everything we have…it’s all we need, beside each other.

Talk today is of a bike ride to the beach. The roads are dusty and extremely washboarded. The temperature is forecast for 79 degrees, typical breezy afternoon and humidity hanging around 50%, a beautiful day for beach exploring. It’s Easter Sunday and we are hoping the locals will stay home.

The southern coastal beaches of Baja are mostly devoid of shells. The waves line up in sets of three, breaking in rolling tubes of froth and foam. The thunderous crashing waves draw the brave and foolish to tempt their fate riding these angry tubes of water on surfboards. It makes for an engaging hour of fun to just observe their antics.

We are now in the middle of Samanto Santos or Holy Week. It is similar to Spring Break. This year, COVID still holds a tight grip on the country, so the Federal government put out guidelines to help quell the outbreak due to hordes of partiers and beach goers. They have closed beaches to camping, limited the capacity and close them at 7:00 pm. It’s just strange to see ample space to walk around the small pods of families and friends claiming their personal space. The sound of Mexican polka music hangs on the air, pumped from huge speakers brought to the beach. The atmosphere is light and jovial.

We find a small patch of sand, at the edge of the tide line, and sit down to be silent observers of the surf, screaming and laughing children running up and down the beach as the wave rolls in. Body surfers being ground into the beach as the wave unleashes on top of them. Dogs dancing with the water, bounding in gazelle-like leaps, barking wildly with joy.

I soon find myself lost in the emptiness of the vast ocean and sky, each blending into the other in the deepest blue imaginable. I am at rest, calm, at peace with all around me. I can feel the fury of the waves, the intensity of the sun, and the endlessness of the cloudless sky. I begin to float and feel weightless, a oneness with the vibrant energy surrounding my empty shell, as my awareness is freed from the constraints of my body. I drift in a state of primal awareness, energized by the enormity of this space. A movement across the waves returns me to the beach. I watch as a pelican glides along, inches from the waves, never breaking the surface of the water. I grab a handful of warm sand, dig my toes in and release an audible sigh.

The Child and the Seagull’s Lesson

One day, sitting on the soft sand beach, minding her own business making dribble castles in the sand, a small child saw a seagull trying to open up a big snail shell.

“What are you doing “, kindly asked the little girl.

The creator has played a trick on us. “He’s given us these succulent snails…one would feed me and my family. I just can’t figure out how to break these tough shells.

The child thought, “I’ve used sticks and other sharp things,” she said.

“Great for you,” he squawked, in only the way a seagull can. “You have hands and are strong.”

The child thought again.

Hours seemed to pass and the two sat on the edge of the beach and thought hard together.

They stopped the pelican as he flew by, “do you know how the seagull can enjoy these delicious snails?”

The pelican laughed and explained he ate only fish and dropped down on them from very high in the sky.

Next they stopped the osprey…he explained he also only ate fish and spotted them from high in the sky, then would dive straight into the water. He flew off being of no help to the child or seagull.

Soon an otter came swimming by tangled up in the seaweed and rolling around a couple of rocks.

“Oh Otter of the sea, how do you break open the clams and spiny urchins you enjoy?”

The otter playfully answered, “why with rocks of course.”

The three of them sat down on a gigantic rock and starring into the sky and at the drifting clouds.

All at once a raven flew by and saw the three.

“What seems to be the problem?” he quizzed the three.

The child explained the raven the seagull’s dilemma.

The raven laughed out load, “that’s a simple problem to solve,” as he flew high into the sky with the snail.

The seagull got angry and was about to fly after him when he let go of the snail.

It fell to the rocky shore with a loud crack!

The raven flew back and asked the seagull what he was waiting for.

The four of them went over to where the snail had fallen and there before them…was the snail cracked wide open.

The child giggled.

Between all the birds and the otter, the raven had used a bit from them all.

The seagull gathered up all the snails it could find before the tide came in.

The otter swam deep into the kelp and brought a tasty bunch of clams.

The raven brought an ear of corn.

The child starred with delight at this huge feast.

All her new animal friends shared in the feast and all nestled down and fell fast asleep.

In the morning, the child woke to the otter cradling her in her arms.

The child thanked the otter and wandered back into the woods.

JA 2021