Arrived Christmas Day, so technically, “home” for the holidays.
Humid & hot.
The weighted sky water of summer. A thousand wardrobe changes in the day (and that’s just the sky!).
Color palettes shift from frothy white to angry greys with blasts of orange and red and gold sprinkled between.
The wind carries them from the north east, from the south .. back around again from the west. It shapes them— along with temperature, pressure, underlying terrain — into ragged forms, soft cumulous curls, a streaking line of stratus. Thunderheads build .. threaten .. and then simply drift away …
The season of clouds. The heart of summer in Baja.
After the rain : and before the next. The sky breaks out her palette of colors beyond the brush and pigment. Hues and shades that catch in the throat with their beauty. A veritable cloak of golden light that beckons, woos, dances on the edges of the mind.
Under my feet, the sand, the desert – already paying hommage to the life gift of water from the earlier deluge. Everywhere the scent of moisture. Pools, small lakes of water. Arroyos that have found the sea after too many months of drought. The rushing waters sing with their ebb and flow …..
For the uninitiated, there is little that can be said to fully express the beauty of Baja California Sur. From the moment one leaves the populations of Colonet & San Quintin, makes a requisite gas stop in El Rosario, and heads into the heart of undeveloped land of cardon, bojum, cholla, poloverde, cirrius and more … the heart slows, the shoulders drop, and the mind begins to embrace again that primal space of undeveloped land.
Mex One zigzags across the peninsula in undulating rhythms, following for the greater part, the easiest passage through rough terrain. That translates to switchbacks, mountain climbs and descents, and arroyo crossings. Wide plains, dry lakes and craggy rock piles – the spewn evidence of long-ago volcanoes litter the landscape. I’ve stopped counting the trips. I never fail to be inspired. I am always stunned by her beauty.
For those who are afraid to travel, I am sorry. So much the greater landscape and less crowded roads for me. While the horrors of the drug cartels are not to be ignored, the city streets of any major metropolitan area has its own body and assault count. I feel safer in my home in Loreto than I ever did in the states.
The Pacific side teases with waves that follow distant swells. Spots like the Wall, Shipwrecks, the local spots of Ensenada .. and of course, Pescadero, Todos Santos and Cabo San Lucas beckon surfers from across the globe.
The east coast, the beautiful bountiful Sea of Cortez, is filled with dolphin, sea turtles, fish of every color and size, rays and whales – blue, pilot, fin and orca. Sunrises, sunsets .. kayaking, paddling, surfing, hiking, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling .. exploring .. magic. To be with and surrounded by such beauty is to me – pure magic.
And then there are the people – beautiful kind warm family loving folks.
Food! Beverages! Music! Dancing! Camping under stars and/or a full moon. Yes : Baja : I love and dream of you always.
Christmas Day, 2010, Loreto, BCS.
Dawned with north east breezes, clear skies and crisp temperatures. Shared hot coffee and Christmas cookies with Jeff Kahan who had stopped for a couple of days on his journey south to La Ventana. We took a long beach walk and let the fresh sea air waken us into the sacred holiday before he took off to meet his friends.
First on my agenda was a Buster bath! Oatmeal soappy and fresh and soft dog fur. I combed/brushed/cut out sand knots and ended with a blow dryer that left him looking like a show dog! Then, the jingle bell collar went on and he was ready for our outing.
The evening meal had been arranged by Jill Jackson for a private Picazone feast. What a treat! 3o or so family and friends who trekked to the far point on the water overlooking Coronado Island.
We gathered on the couches, sipped cocktails and wine and stories of Christmas past, fishing (there is always a fishing story or two in Mexico), travels, and adventures. We all reflected on how lucky we felt to be in such a special location under the kind and watchful care of Alejandro, Imelda, Alex Jr., and Diego. They have carved a magical space out of small chunk of seaside desert with their tony restaurant, Picazone. I would have to say it is a must see/do in any Loreto vacation planning.
Prior to dinner, Rick Jackson had set up his camera on the beach and was doing spontaneous Christmas portraits. Buster, all fluffy fur, demanded that we have our picture taken.
With a first course of onion soup, the stage was set .. along with the dramatic backdrop of sky colors shifting from blues to sunset hues. I helped light the beautiful bank of drip candles atop spent wine bottles. Alejandro eventually used one for each table, the soft light spilling across the colorful clothes and warmly lighting the faces of friends. Gravy laden turkey plates arrived next .. each with a side wondrous cheese potatoes. Is there a word for ‘happy mouth’? My tastebuds were pleased, my heart filled with the warmth of friendship that continues to spread and build in this small community. Such luck.. such wonder. Such a special Christmas day.
Winter solstice … the shortest day of the year .. and the longest night .. began with a total eclipse of the moon. The simultaneity of events has happened on only one winter solstice since the year 1 (that’s a very long long time ago) in 1638. The next occurrence is more than 200 years in the future. I’ll leave notes for my great-great-great-great grandchildren 🙂
I was lucky enough to be in clear sky perfect location for the event. The evening was cool, a Baja winter setting in for late December. I laid on the beach and watched the moon shift form brilliant white in a black sky to a rusty red color, all the craters and meteor impacts revealed in a softer palette. The black sky opened to star fields that surrounded the red orb, and shooting stars carried trails of shimmering crimson and gold that seemed to linger like spent fireworks.
I could say .. ahhhhhhh .. a few hundred times, and not nearly express the full impact of the evening.
Sunset paddle with Buster on the bow of sit-on kayak. Sky a soft palette of pale pinks and corals with a hint of light violet. Wind driven waves of about a foot bounced the boat around. We drifted near a gathering of pelicans and gulls, listening to their ‘conversations’ over the splash of crested water. Overhead, terns and boobies called to one another and dove for small fish meals.
The sea began to wear the colors of the sky. Bird songs blended with water songs. Oh glorious end of day .. oh magical way to live.