In not so recent past… maybe when the moon passed into the darkness two times in one cycle of time, the animals of the lands and streams had a feeling of dread.
The Mother Earth and Father Sky had lost a child and they wept and wept.
The sky lamented and huge clouds formed storing the mournful tears and heavy hearts
The animals could no longer see during the day and gathered in fear in the highest peaks as the tears began to rain down on the land
The child that lived on the beach, at the edge of the forest, saw the rage of the sea as the furry of the clouds made huge waves that thrashed the delicate sand.
The child knew her friends were in danger and ran over the ancient trails to the secret meeting place of the night seers. The night seers could see when the others could not.
They had special powers and summoned the animals and fishes of the sea.
The child was instructed to go to the lagoon and seek the Sleepy Turtle.
It was said the Turtle was the most ancient of all creatures… so ancient that the earth itself had been fooled by its slumber and grown trees and mountains on its very back.
The child knew this journey would take too long and went to find the falcon that lived in the side of the the canyon that held the great river of red.
The raven knew the exact place and agreed to help the child. She climbed onto his silky black back, held tight to the scruff of neck feathers and they took off.
The journey took the whole day and most of the night.
In the darkness of night, huge burst of light flashed in the sky and you could hear the the very breaking of The Mother’s heart.
The sky filled with streaks of light that flashed sometimes more bright than the sun. The heavens broke open and the rains once’s again flooded the land.
On the second day, the child arrived in the great canyon of the river.
There was a huge cave in the wall of the ancient exposed rock and the falcon sat waiting.
He had heard from the swallows of her arrival.
“How can I help little one,” asked the falcon?
The child told the story of the Sleepy Turtle and that only it could save the lives of the animals of the forest, deserts and streams.
The falcon looked at the sky and knew that there was little time left.
“I will fly faster than time,” said the falcon.
The child was grateful for the eagerness of the falcon to help her friends. She jumped onto the falcons back and he jumped off the cliff and soared so fast the world became a blur.
In less than the blink of an eye, they arrived, but where was the Turtle?
In a dream, the child was given a small pan flute by a native she met. He told her it would help her when she needed a miracle.
The child reached into her sleeve and there it was. She pulled out the flute and an enchanting melody shook the land. The earth shook, the sky rumbled and the clouds flashed.
Huge landslides tumbled down and when all was quiet… an eye opened like a giant mirror and the child saw herself but not as she knew herself. She was a beautiful woman with long hair as black and silky as the otters tail.
The eye blinked and more earth fell from the huge figure they were standing on.
The clouds flashed and the rain began again. The last of the trees and rocks fell away as the earth beneath their feet shook violently again.
A sleepy old turtle rose from the land and on its tremendous back was a whole world of lush green trees and high top mountains, deserts and valleys, rivers, lakes and streams tumbled down the craggy peaks on its back.
It opened its eye again and spoke softly in the child’s mind so only she could hear.
“Your friends are fine.”
The child let a single tear fall.
The turtle told the child that a deal had been struck with the elements created by the sorrow of Mother Earth and Father Sky.
The clouds flashed once more and the ground trembled but not a drop of rain fell.
Many, many long years ago, Mother Earth was a small child herself and was cast out by an old witch and her father was never seen again.
She was thrown into the primordial seas and left for dead.
The huge ancient beings with wings tried to save her, the fish of the ancient sea couldn’t hold her above the waves and angry wind blown seas.
Finally a giant otter appeared and knew the only creature that could save her and dove deep into the inky Black Sea.
All the fish and flying animals took turns helping the young child to stay afloat. She finally could no longer stay awake and drifted off into a deep dreamless sleep and slid beneath the water.
As the otter rose out of the darkness she brought with her a huge sea turtle that had been asleep on the sea floor for years untold.
It rose to the surface with enough fertile soil to sustain life and the small child. She grew and created a world of beauty. It was grief that has brought this suffering to your friends.
The turtle lumbered off to where the lagoon and forest met. The earth had risen up above the angry waters and her friends had gotten on with their lives as if nothing ever happened.
The child turned to the giant old turtle and put her hand up, the turtle laid his head gentle on her hand and he fell back into his deep, deep slumber.
The wind finally blew us off the road but we made it a few more clicks closer to home. Chris knew this cute little place in Beaver to bed down called the DeLano Motel. It’s less than $80 usd all in. The guy that owns the place is a great business man of middle eastern decent. The place is cute on the inside and has a nice patina shall we say? The personal touch he put into the detail of the rooms reminded me of someone who takes pride in his business. In this rural area of Utah this motel would be known as “a dive hotel.” I’ve learned not to judge a book by its cover. The Hotel McCoy in Tucson, Arizona, has the same vibe. You drive into the McCoy Hotel and it is a converted storage shed facility. The rooms are retro in style and very quaint.
While in Mexico, we mostly lived in our van and boon-docked or dry camped. We always tried to find a local eatery or roadside taco shop to get at least one meal a day. It actually costs less to buy a meal out, than to buy all the ingredients and make it for ourselves. Once a week we needed to find a hot shower or a place to use our own and refill drinking water. You could always get a room for $17 usd and use it solely for the hot shower and flush toilet. Costs a bit more than a camp spot on the beach, but the hot shower makes up for it. You then can park the van in a safe parking lot. Score! Two birds with one stone.
The Bufadora Hotel in Acension, BCS, Mexico, was one of those places that was a cute “dive hotel” by European standards… but we aren’t in Kansas anymore Dorothy.
When we pulled into Acension, it was a normal windy day on the Pacific side of the Baja and guess what… We were stuck in the van by the hurricane force winds. We found the hotel by a referral from my cousin, who lives in Acension permanently, at least for now. They had two small rooms around the back of the complex. The room had a large double bed a window, night stand, ceiling fan, and typical plastic chair. The bathroom had a warm shower, depending on who was showering, and a flush toilet. Best part of the hotel was the patio area which ended up facing the perfect way to block the wind and enjoy the sun. Everyday we’d gather on the back porch and enjoy the sun and the view. The tide coming in would cause the waves to crash on the rock buttress and blow up through the natural blow holes. The sound was thunderous.
The owner is a well known savvy business woman, whose personal touches made you look past the rusted chairs, rotting fish corpses, and the garbage thrown over the cliff side. Culture… don’t pass judgement.
As you drive through the small towns all up and down the Baja, you see the squalor and the pride side by side. Children play, woman gather on the porches and prepare the big meal for the day. Bright colored clothes hang in rows on drying lines. I am but a passer by on my way to where ever the road takes me. I am in their country, a visitor with permission to explore. Our money is needed in the local communities and those towns that have learned to entice the adventurers, keep a clean area and put pride in every taco, quesadilla, and pollo they prepare for their clients do well. These people are very proud, and kind.
I fought the urge the first few days to be super vigilant and to not be plain old paranoid. Why? Fear of the unknown. Fear because of a prejudice that exists in the recesses of my mind from childhood and cultural conditioning. As I walked across the parking lot of our hotel last night in Page, Arizona, I can honestly say that I felt more vulnerable and fearful walking there than I ever did in the Baja. I never encountered a crazed drug addict with a gun or homeless people lying around. The locals took care to be quiet and respectful and take care of their own. So many horrible pictures painted by the media, state departments and travel advisors that when you see the reality of the kindness of the locals and the communities, you wonder if you’re in the right country.
The people we encountered were always friendly and eager to talk to you. If anyone engages you, local, nomads or transplant, better not be in a hurry. This relaxed pace is a way of life that spills over into everything. For example, if you order food or a drink, it will take some time for it to arrive but may be the best meal you’ll ever have, and after you ask for the bill, your pleasant mood will not be dashed… drinks and a full meal for four people… less than $300 pesos or $15usd. It’s hard to believe such good service and great food can be so cheap… by whose standards?
The conversation must be had… COVID in Mexico… we met a gentleman in El Trufino who came out of a clinic door and announced to us that he had just gotten his shot and he was proud to do his part. The man was thinking about others as well as himself. Every establishment took our temperature, required masks and cleaning your hands, before entering because COVID has effected so many families on the Baja, no one argues, travelers and locals alike. Some had lost their entire family on the main land. Everyone respects everyone. How kind. I know a country that could take a lesson from these kind, hard working people. Masks all around, even in outdoor settings. End of subject.
Religion and celebrations seem to always go hand in hand in most Latin countries. The predominant religion is Catholicism and these lovely people have made it fun! The traditional Mexican folk lore and celebrations have been incorporated into the catholic celebrations. Missionaries for hundreds of years have been trying to break this spirit but it seems that a compromise was made, or the Mexicans are just stubborn. This religious stance makes their family key. It was not unusual for an entire family of 9 to pile out of a Ford truck at the beach and spend the day swimming, eating and drinking. We always seemed to be included and they would send over the person who could speak the most English and ask us to join in. We were always served first as the family watched… a bit uncomfortable the first few times but how can you say no? Fresh ceviche anyone? There is a lot of hand jesters and laughing as we all try to communicate.
Traveling has afforded us with experiences beyond our wildest dreams. An open mind and acceptance can take you into a world feared by so many who don’t. “Women shouldn’t travel alone…”
“You will get mugged or worse…”
If I listened to the naysayers my life would be very boring.
Mexican families are matriarchal and no family would ever abandon their elder parents outside of their own home. The men respect women. Families are a community affair… meaning everyone makes sure that if help is needed for a struggling family, everyone steps in. In a way I truly think that they have much better respect for family of all ages.
My friends have moved to Loreto, settled in, and bought an 18 year old house and Louisa, who has been the housekeeper since, came with the house. She and her daughter had been taking care of the cooking, cleaning and whatever was needed since the house was built. Sound strange? Actually it is common to allow the house keepers to keep their job. It’s her livelyhood and source of income for 18 years. They want to keep their jobs and continue to be a productive member of the community, but also support her family. One of the hardest things for a traveler, seeker, an outsider to understand is we can completely ruin the lives of the native peoples if we try to impart our gringo views, meaning… our wealth and extravagant life styles are not theirs. We shouldn’t pity them or try to save them. Guidelines should be observed in tipping and paying for services. We could literally set them up to fail if you should move away. We all spend more when we make more. The concern is… the gringos can always leave.
There is so much more to say but we are coming up on our stop for the night. We just drove down a road in Beaver, Utah that had every religion covered. One denominational church sits beside a different and so forth and so on for 12 churches. I bet that only on Sunday, if ever, will this town wake up to the sound of the church bells. Those are things I will miss from our travels into the neighborhoods and supporting the local economy. I hope that things have changed… I am afraid though that my hopes will not be found so I will let things be as they are and just be.
It was a beautiful end to a perfect day.
The animals of the forest, mountains and deserts all settled into their dens for the night.
A small child wandered through the forest, to the edge of the lagoon, and curled up under her favorite palm tree and fell fast asleep.
She dreamed of flowers and butterflies… soft clouds and warm sunshine…
In the morning she woke to the silent lapping of the waves on the shoreline, but something was missing.
The child looked around in darkness.
Where is the sun? Why is it not rising from the lagoon?
The animals of the forest were just as confused.
All the flowers stayed tightly closed, waiting for the sun to rise so they could show off their beautiful colors.
The animals ran around in circles, bumping into trees, and tripping on rocks.
The sky stayed dark.
The small child knew something was terribly wrong.
She sat at the edge of the forest and lagoon, unable to see in the inky blackness.
She called out for anyone who could see to help her.
She peered into the blackness but she heard nothing.
She felt a slight brush against her arm and turned to see the bright eyes of the wise old owl.
“My child,” he said, “how can I help?”
“Wise owl… something has happened to the sun,” she exclaimed. “My friends are unable to see and we must do something!”
“Let me see what I can do,” said the wise old owl and he flew off.
He flew to the den of the mountain lion.
The mountain lion had already seen the situation and the confusion of his family in the forest.
“We need your help to bring back the light to the forest,” the owl said.
The mountain lion had dreamed of this day and told the owl of his dream.
“It is the coyote,” the mountain lion explained.
“I have seen his game in my dream. He is up to being a trickster again. We must find a way to distract him. He has taken the moon and covered the sun. This was my dream,” the Mountain lion confided.
The owl and the lion used their extraordinary sight in the dark and went to the highest point in the forest.
All the animals listened carefully to the mountain lion.
When he was done speaking the coyote laughed out loud, giving away his hiding place, the trickster was had!
The birds, having special powers to fly in the darkness, honed in on the laughter and flew after the coyote.
The coyote, hearing the birds coming ran away in fear. His power fading as he ran.
All at once the moon began to slide away from the sun and the animals of the forest, streams, oceans and sky rejoiced.
The child was happy her friends could see again.
The owl, mountain lion and child made a plan… everyday the birds would find the coyote, surround him and sing loudly, confusing the coyote so he never again could steal the sun.
One night, in the land of whimsy and magic, a small child had the most marvelous dream.
The animals and small creatures of the forest and fields came to her.
The little child listened as they explained, in only language she could understand.
The small birds chirped wildly and the bees buzzed in swarms…even the small snails, ants and geckos had something to say.
It seemed the world was missing something very important and she listened with deep concern only a child could have.
She promised she would try to find a solution and went searching high and low.
Finally she came to a big tree… it was so tall she couldn’t see the top so she began to climb.
She tried not to be afraid as she got higher and higher.
All at once she heard a small voice…it was a spider hanging from her back legs on a silken thread.
“What brings you so high into my tree young one,” the spider asked.
The child answered, “I am looking for an answer to the small animals and insects of my small forest.”
The spider pondered and said to the child, “I know someone who can help, but you must continue to climb up my tree past the clouds and into the heavens.
The child looked up and was frightened but summoned up all her courage, fueled by her love for all her small friends, and with the help of the spider, began to climb higher and higher.
Finally, after a long time climbing, she cleared the clouds and looked around.
The sky above the tree was colorless and was blinding.
She could hear the swoosh of a birds wings coming closer and her eyes adjusted in time to see a huge hawk as it landed beside her in the tree.
The spider and the child told the story to the hawk, of her search for something for her friends, the small birds and insects of the forest.
The hawk told the child to climb on its back and she did, without hesitation, and the hawk spread his wings and flew off.
He knew the only one who could solve such a problem and he headed straight up and into the blank sky.
The child felt the power and protection of the hawk and fell to sleep, nestled in his broad neck feathers and dreamed a dream inside her dream.
The hawk came to rest on a tall mountain top, high above the clouds of the world below.
The child slowly was helped down and told to go into the cave that sparkled like a star, so she went off along a rocky trail until she saw it…
A cave so beautiful it sparkled like the night sky full of twinkling stars. The child couldn’t believe her eyes.
In the cave sat a small woman on a blanket of white buffalo hide, her eyes twinkled with a loving energy and his hair was as white as snow. She looked up softly smiling at the small child.
She walked over and the woman held out her hand and the child put her tiny hand in hers.
“What a small child to be carrying such a huge burden for your small animal friends,” the woman spoke in a quiet, even voice. “The love in your heart and the purity of that love has brought you to me, I am pleased.”
The small child was amazed the woman knew of her journey and her desire to help the small creatures of the forest. The child smiled.
The woman told the child to sit beside her and they would think together. All of a sudden rainbows began to emanate from the cave walls and circled the two.
The woman took a paintbrush from her cloak and captured the rainbows. She handed the brush to the child.
Next she waved her hands in the air and the sweetest smell filled the cave and she reached in her sleeve and pulled out a jar and captured the sweetness in the bottle and tightly closed the lid. She handed the jar to the child.
The child looked up at the small woman standing now before her. She reached out and touched her cloak and she spoke in a soft voice, “take these and go back to the forest and seek out the spider, she has the power to create and will need to instruct you on how to use these to help your tiny friends,” and in a burst of golden light she disappeared.
The child looked at the paintbrush and the bottle with wonder and returned to the hawk who quickly took flight.
Returning to the tree top, the small child thanked the hawk and he spread his broad wings and flew into the empty sky.
A small voice woke the child from her dream. Was anything the child remembered real? She put her hand in her bag there they were, the paintbrush and the jar.
“Oh spider, I am so glad you waited,” said the child.
The child told the spider the dream she thought she had but here were the items the small woman gave to her.
The spider laughed, “oh small human, you have met The Great Spirit Guru, she is the creator of all things, even you. Allow me to show you how to solve your problem,” and with that, the spider took the paintbrush and thought hard as she used the paintbrush to paint the sky blue and added a few white clouds.
The child watched in wonderment as the emptiness was transformed into a beautiful sky. She took the brush, and following the spiders instruction, thought hard and painted a brilliant sun. She giggled with delight.
The spider then helped the child back to the earth and she wandered back to her small forest.
She walked over to a green bush and with the paintbrush, painted a small object on it, then took the jar and poured out some of the sweet smell. She repeated this over and over again on trees, bushes and vines.
“I have been to see The Creator of us all,” said the child to her small animal friends. “The spider and hawk helped me to find the answer by taking me to her cave.”
The small animals, birds and insects circled the child and watched as she took out the paintbrush and thought hard, the answer came to her, like in her dream.
The small animals, birds and insects of the forest watched for days and days as the child worked.
She finished late in June, the time of the long, hot days.
The sweet smell of these beautiful things she created fill the air and the bees and birds were instantly drawn to them. Each was filled with nectar for the birds and pollen for the bees. Other small animals also delighted in this new thing.
One night, all the animals gathered around the small child in celebration and gazed up into the night sky.
The hawk and spider joined in the celebration.
The animals, birds and insects, all fulfilled, asked the child what was this life giving sweet thing she created?
The child looked to the spider for a creative name…
“I will call it a flower,” answered the child, after long deep thought.
The warmth of the sun
Thaws my frozen heart to the splendor of the spring
The birds sing wildly
Searching for a mate
My bare skin…Bronzed from this life giving source
A stirring deep inside
Beckons me to be free
Love returns to my weary soul
A calmness of immense silence settles in
The day has begun
Welcome to my morning
One day, a small child was walking along the beach.
She was very sad
So sad, as she walked huge tears fell from her eyes and filled an ocean
The animals of the forest and streams came to see if they could comfort her but they didn’t know what to do
So the child turned towards the ocean and began to walk
She walked and walked until the animals of the forest and streams could see her no longer see her
The child began to see the most wonderful things
There were turtles and fishes, dolphins and whales
She was floating in the ocean
Watching as the colors were illuminated by the sun as it’s splintered light entered the ocean
All at once, the child realized she was running out of air
First the turtle came to see what he could do
But he found his flippers couldn’t hold her up
The turtle swam off to get help
The child began to feel tired and began to drift off
She was dying and she didn’t understand
She tried to breathe but the water filled her lungs
Soon the whale came back with the turtle
They saw the child floating lifeless
They were very sad
The whale drew on his vast knowledge and opened his mouth
He gently scooped up the child and began his journey to the surface
The small child woke up and felt a soft surface in the dark
She snuggled up and began to dream
In her dream she was playing in her favorite field of daisies
The butterflies tickled her nose
As she looked up in her dream to see the sun
The whale opened his mouth
He stuck out his long tongue and watched the small child walk to the beach
She turned around and saw the whale
The animals of the ocean gathered around the whale
There were dolphins and turtles
Whales and fishes
Underwater flying animals with big wings of black and white
There were fishes of all colors and shapes
She giggled as the flying fish performed tricks
The whale softly spoke in whale talk
He thanked the child for creating the ocean with her tears
He told her a secret and the child smiled
Her tears dried and she found peace in her heart
One day while walking alone in the woods a child found a path.
In all her days living in the woods and along the streams,
She had never seen this path before
It shimmered with light that sparkled on the horizon
It looked like diamonds hovering in the most bluish green sky she’d ever seen.
She wandered slowly over to the path,
It was the softest thing beneath her feet she’d ever felt
She explored further and further until all at once,
The path opened up onto the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen
Being from the woods she didn’t know what this soft powder was
She saw a turtle digging in the sand and asked,
“Mr Turtle, what is this soft wonderfully warm ground called?
It’s a wonderful surprise!”
The turtle answered, in a low soft voice, “why it is sand child, have you never been to the sea?”
With glee the child took a deep breath and smelled the most delicious air ever
“I like the smell of the air”, said the small child
“It’s the smell of the sea child,” said the turtle
The child thought to herself that the sea looked like beautiful patchwork quilt of colors
She thanked the turtle and moved down closer to the sea
She saw a figure standing at the edge and watched as the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky gathered
She walked quietly, not making a single sound
The powdery warm sand beneath her feet brought joy to her heart and she smiled
As she grew closer
The figure turned around
His face was bright like the sun and rainbows danced off his finger tips
The birds of the sky circled him and cried joyous songs
The fish of the sea danced on top of the water
The man handed the girl a stone
It was the most beautiful jade green she had ever seen although it was quite plain.
The man told the girl to hold onto the stone and that any time she needed to be comforted from a bad dream or to dry her tears
She could hold the stone and he would appear in her mind
Clearing away all that she feared and make her know
It’s not real
The girl thanked the man and took her pretty jade green rock and went back towards the path
She thanked the birds of the sky and the fish in the sea, turned and walked back into the woods where she lived
She ran back to the Wolf and told him what had happened
When the wolf heard the story he asked the girl to see the rock
As she pulled it from the little pouch that hung around her neck,
It felt quite different and not the same plain rock she was given
She placed it in the palm of her hand and held it out for the Wolf to see
As she opened her hand the rock had turned into a likeness of the man she met
The Wolf knew this man and explained to the little girl about the man who loves all beings
He lives in the woods and the sea, the earth and the sky, and now he lives here
The Wolf touched the girl with his nose
She looked at the beautiful green statue she held in her hand
“Does he have a name?” asked the child
“Buddha,” answered the Wolf.
In a land of wonder
Once a small child lived among the animals of the sky, streams and deserts.
She sought silence in the vast mountains that surrounded her home.
One night during a fitful dream,
The White Buffalo came to her in dreams of grief and sorrow, He’d spread his wings…
Rainbows and fire filled the sky
In his path he burned everything evil from the child’s mind and the rainbows were his promise.
The heart of Otter still guarded her
With love she thanked the White Buffalo and she drifted off into a deep sleep.
The stars told the story that night
The moon smiled
The child dreamed of sunlight bouncing off moonbeams and all her sorrows went away.
She woke to the new day
She smiled at the sun and
Felt the beating of her heart
Surrounded by light she danced and sang
She rested among the flowers
The tormentors are gone
She smiled and her smile
Was brighter than the sun and the animals of the sky, streams and deserts surrounded her and rejoiced.
I know you are there
When darkness of night spreads its wings for the bright and shinning sun
I know you are there
When autumn leaves fall from the trees and welcomes the cold snow on their limbs
I know you are there
When the bitterness of hatred takes a sip from the sweet cup of love
I know you are there
When sadness and sorrows fly away to make space in my heart for happiness and joy
I know you are there
When bad and evil get crushed so that only good and forgiveness can prevail
I know you are there
When my tears are wiped away and my lips smile and sing
I know you are there
So when my soul departs from this world towards the world unseen
I know you’ll be there