While most thoughts of Mexico in the winter are of sunshine filled days lazing or frolicking on the beach, there are still those that sneak in – like this morning – cloud filled and gorgeous – and yes, chilly.
The beach walkers bundled up in sweatshirts and even down jackets. Ugg boots, or at least fat socks and tennis shoes, instead of flops and beach shorts. Their pace is a little quicker to fend off the cold.
Winter in Baja.
A place where pelicans, boobies and arctic terns dive for bait fish in the shallow waters close to shore. Where egrets and herons patiently hunt on the shoreline or in the estuaries, side by side with sandpipers, godwits and occasional killdeer. Where offshore, orcas, fin whales, dolphin, and dancing mobula entertain guests and locals, while we wait for the arrival of the blue whales.
A place and time for contemplation. The hunkering down that winter begs of the body and the mind. A hibernation of such, so that when spring unleashes her torrent of renewed growth, we are fresh from rest and ready to press forward again.
Great morning reminder that everything is built on flux and nothing remains fixed … Easy roller – 5.2 mag earthquake about 80 miles east of Loreto. Everything in place – nothing falling from shelves – but houseplant leaves looked as if a strong wind had blown through the door. Life on the edge …
woke to a crescent moon lingering over dark seas .. the lights of the small city twinkling across the beach and water … grateful to be able to walk to the beach .. stand on the shore and ponder the inhale exhale of the planet and it’s inhabitants.. the strangeness and the things that make sense .. so many mysteries .. how energies can work at cross purposes and how our now individual manifestations can blend or clash with amazing intensities …
i sit somewhere down this long narrow peninsula .. once a piece of a grander whole, and wonder if that isn’t just us .. small fragments of something once much larger ..
or still connected .. that cosmic force that is unseen but occasionally intuited ..
ah .. the ponder .. the fresh cup of hot coffee .. the sleeping children way past the dawn .. the gifts waiting to be opened .. the stockings to be reckoned with .. the early preparations of a meal to be shared with family and friends ..
so many ways to open a day ..
on this christmas morning .. i wish you the magic that fills the hearts of children in anticipation of the holidays .. the gift that winter bestows, begging us to rest .. in preparation for spring and the burst of new life ….
.. or maybe I’ve gone too far for a desert beach Christmas? After sourcing the fabric shop and grocery store in Loreto, I’ve come up with enough bits and pieces to ‘decorate’ Casa de Catalina for the holidays. Too many issues in the past few years had kept the ‘spirit’ at bay … and numb had best described my feelings. This year, I play Christmas carols – Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis. I see my grandmother playing her accordion and my grandparents dancing around our living room. I see my brother and sister in matching pajamas carefully setting out cookies for Santa. I see my mother beaming, an apron around her waist, as she flits between the kitchen and the raucous spirit in the living room.
This year, I am creating a space of playfulness, with a focus on love and laughter. I hope that each and everyone one of my readers has a joyously full holiday season.
It was always the dream. When I first purchased the beach house and the adjoining lot in Loreto, I dreamed of expanding the property with a guest house, pool and entertainment area. After nine years of dreaming, I took the steps with local architect Yvo Leonardo Arias Salorio to draft the plans to manifest my dream. Contractor Jose Rochin and his crew worked with me to craft a magical home and outdoor world.
The photos below capture the transition from plan stage to completion. Yes, dreams do come true!
After a couple of dry runs with family and friends, “Casita de Catalina” is finally ready for prime time rental. If you or your friends are interested – first in vacationing in lovely Loreto – and second staying in a dream property just feet from the Sea of Cortez, the property is listed with VRBO . Photos and rental information can be found by clicking here: https://www.vrbo.com/966177?unitId=1514132
It’s no surprise that I have a deep connection with the city of Loreto in Baja California. Ten years ago I went to visit my girlfriend, Val Wilkerson, and left with a house, a decision that I have never regretted. Loreto sits perched at the edge of the Sea of Cortez against a backdrop of the craggy and towering Sierra de la Giganta. Marine and mammal life forms abound.
Loreto & the Sierra Giganta
Aside from it’s natural beauty, Loreto is home to some of the kindest people I have ever known. The original capital of California, the city grew from five founding families,and their descendants carry on on century old practices of family first.
Just before I had been introduced to Loreto, an organization to which I am now an advisor, The Ocean Foundation, had become an integral part of the development of Loreto Bay, billed as a sustainable community to the south of the city proper.
Sundays by the Sea … Shore bird chatter presses landward, layered against the backdrop of whirring hummingbird wings and the staccato call of the flashy yellow oriole. A few walkers. A few dogs. Temperatures in the low 70s. The color of sunlight plays amidst the palm fronds and the pink and red garden flowers. Yes … morning … Grateful I am to inhale your intoxicating air.
To the east, the mainland sends up a show of lightning. Bursts of reddish colors paint the undersides of thick storm clouds. Loreto is humid, but no rain or thunder for the moment.
The repaired lighthouse in the marina casts a welcoming green white light as the top spins in its glass housing, guiding mariners safely home.
Overhead, starts punctuate the space between the clouds. The low level of city or neighborhood lights provides enough dark sky to enjoy a palette of twinkling white. Distant suns and planets. The extension of our our small earth-based universe.
Suddenly, a larger break in the clouds, now backlit with white. A tiny crescent moon, bathed in shades of orange, casts a shimmering pathway across the surface of the Sea. It appears as if I could almost walk to Isla Carmen on a carpet of watery light.
Yes, sultry summer nights on the Sea of Cortez, as we step toward fall …..
Hurricane Blanca’s winds hit Loreto around 3am, easily waking me. Storm anticipation is a sure sleep-wrecker. The electricity went off / then on again. I pulled open the slider and shuddered at the power of the wind and the dark dark night. No stars nor moon could pierce the heavy cloud cover.
I walked out onto the beach – no rain yet, just strong winds and pelting sand. The seas were frothy in the muted light, a virtual blackened plane punctuated with surging waves and white caps. The sound of the wind, it’s force and the darkness, were unsettling. Already, the scent of mud-washed arroyos permeated the air.
At 4am, satellite imagery showed the now diminished hurricane bearing down on Puerto Cortez, the western tip of the peninsula before spreading into Bahia de Ulloa and Bahia San Juancio. The storm made landfall as a tropical storm around 8am Baja Sur time, with increasing winds and falling rain.
Blasting winds, steady at 25-34 mph with gusts clocked at 46 mph, bent trees and shrubs as morning spread her light, have kept birds fluttering for cover, and pelicans struggling to remain afloat in the storm driven seas.
Blanca still churns her energy slight south of Loreto – the lean of the palm revealing the location of the heart of the storm. Most recent imagery indicates that the bulk of the rain has been deposited, and what remains is a wildly windier afternoon.
This display of nature’s force fuels a celebration in me – as witness the power of wind and sea and storm – while remaining grateful, that from a Category 4 hurricane just 3 days ago, Blanca’s presence here in Loreto has been that of a Tropical Storm.