December 31 .. The last day of 2010.

Sunrise, Sea of Cortez, December 31, 2010

Last day, last sunrise of 2010.

Woke earlier than usual : 4:00 AM and what to do. Sleep filled and nothing left but to meditate and greet the new day in darkness.  Poured hot coffee and savored the quiet.  A crescent moon lingered with Saturn clinging to its sphere.  NASA reporting storms on the ringed planet .. new information on how things in the planetary world are created.

All the dogs come for morning treats, and still it’s dark.  They chew, I sip .. and then I give it over.  The hint of light coming from behind the island beckons me.  I tie the laces on my shoes, grab the camera and off we go, down the long beach toward the distant point.

The air is chilled and the wind still from the WSW as it has been for days.  The sea has been strange with this blow.  The beach houses block the wind right at the waters edge, creating surreal glassy pools, while just beyond the roof lines, ripples fan out toward the island and the open water.

The seabirds have been luxurious. Terns, cormorants, grebes, egrets, herons, an osprey .. pelicans, boobies, gulls, sandpipers, marbled godwits, sanderlings, lesser yellow legs.  As if everyone has come to celebrate the end of the year.  Even the dolphin have moved closer in the shallows, savoring the small bait fish that swim nearer to shore.

Estuary at Dawn

At the edge of the sea, and running westward to the Pacific, lies the gorgeous extremes of the Baja desert.  Dry and subtropical on the eastern shores, the climate and plantlife are part of the Sonoran region, a part of one of the the largest and hottest deserts in North America.  Tall cardon, a relative of the saguaro cactus stand like tall sentries amidst mesquite and paloverde trees.

Estuaries are common on the eastern shores, with wading birds in wild variety and large numbers.  Migratory birds, such as the Arctic Tern, make use of Baja for their winter home.

Buster and I walked into the morning light, solitary figures on the long stretch of beach that spreads north from town.  We walked for over an hour with not a single person in sight, but plenty of heron, egrets, pelicans and cormorants.

Heron gliding northward along the beach.

The squawk of the heron as Buster flushed him from the shallows echoed down the sandy shoreline. He landed again and again, only to pick up his wings again as we grew closer.

Finally, the sun slipped up behind the edge of Isla Carmen in a beautiful – if not momentary – display of color – before tucking behind a bank of clouds. We turned back toward home. I was thinking coffee … Buster was thinking dog treats.

Buster leads the way on our morning walk.

So began the last day of the year .. Filled with gratitude for all that has come to us, all the experiences, all the learning .. the friendships, the adventures, the joys, the challenges and the successes.


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