Friday, August 10, 2018

Wide Sky

wide sky

It's about 1,000 miles from the border to the tip of Baja. In May, we again took the drive south from California. We followed a different route, crossing at Mexicali to explore other parts of this beautiful peninsula. 

Right before we left, I happened to mention to a client that we'd be driving through San Felipe.

"That's where my sister has a house," she said. Soon she emailed me to tell me her sister would love for us to spend a night for free. While I'm grateful, I'm not surprised anymore by such generosity and serendipity--something about a traveling life seems to invite magic.

Bahia Concepcion, one of our stops on the drive down.
It had been two years since we'd been to Casita Once, our little place near Todos Santos. The minute we hit Baja Sur, I rolled down the window and breathed in the unique mix of salt air, heat, dust, warm breeze. I was reminded how I love this place where desert-meets-ocean-meets-cerritos (hills). 

sunset at playa de Cerritos
More than ever before, we have felt embraced by the community here. We spend many days improvisationally. Someone will rap on our gate and say, "Wanna play backgammon at the pool?" At the pool, someone will say, "Come over for dinner. We have fresh fish." And then we will say, "We have cole slaw." And someone else will say, "We'll bring dessert."

In between, Dave has been doing a lot of home and garden projects. I have been editing books and teaching yoga twice a week.
evidence of Dave's green thumb at Casita Once's entrance
We've been re-connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. Some are on vacation here. Some own places or are building them. There's lots of construction around and lots of new restaurants going in.

with new friends Mike and Marla at the site of their home-in-progress
We've also had visitors. Craig, one of Dave's college buddies, came for a week. At the same time another of his old friends, Paul, was here, checking on his new property in Todos Santos where he is building a home. We are happy to have another friend-as-neighbor.
Jimmy, Craig & Paul, and me on Manny (short for Mantequilla).
Our three nephews also visited. My sister Ann lives down here--and her sons, Beau and Brock, have been coming to this area since they were kids. It was the first time for my other sister's son, Evan, to visit. Can you tell he loved it?
with Evan (19), Brock (25) & Beau (27)

Dave got this great shot of Beau 
One Sunday I went with a few friends to the local church. It was sweet to hear the congregation sing in Spanish and to watch two children who, upon being baptized, were lifted up and applauded. Witnessing this community and family love, my heart broke again for the children separated from their parents at the border.

proud father and priest
We continue to be amazed at what a great place this is, rustic and embracing and, in the ways of the desert, beautiful and harsh. There are cacti and snakes and bugs. There are so many birds and palms and papayas and crashing waves and abundant fresh food.

locally grown

papaya in our orchard
Punta Lobos, where every afternoon you can buy just-caught fish.
gila woodpecker
caracaras (iconic birds of Mexico) at their nest
We had forays out of our area. Lee-Ann, who attended my writing retreat in Thailand, just happened to be in San Jose del Cabo! So we drove down there (a bit over an hour on a nice highway) to spend an evening of live music, food and conversation in the downtown.

San Jose del Cabo
For Dave's and my sixth wedding anniversary, we drove five hours to Loreto, on the Sea of Cortez. (Again, we were generously offered a free place for few nights, by friends we'd housesat for earlier in the year.) In Loreto, Dave reconnected with Juve and Sarah. He'd not seen them in more than ten years, when they'd done a kayak trip.
Salud! Juve and Sarah now own a dive shop in downtown Loreto.
Another day, we arranged to have a ponga pick us up for some time on the water. The captain showed us two geologically fascinating islands--Carmen and Danzante--and stopped for some beautiful snorkeling.
isla Danzante
My favorite moment was on the drive back when we spotted a huge pod of dolfinas. They surrounded the boat, squealing and jumping. I asked the captain how many there were. I thought he said, cincuenta (fifty).

"De verdad?" I said. "¿No mas?" (Really? No more?... It had looked like hundreds to me.)

That's when he explained he'd said sin cuenta...literally, "without counting." Too many to count. Yay, I learned a new idiom!

dofinas...sin cuenta
Another of our adventures was a day-long (dusty, exhilarating, exhausting) group quad ride into the Sierra de Laguna mountains. At one point, one of the vehicles got stuck in the mud and needed to be pulled out with our wench; Dave got a down-and-dirty lesson on how to use it.

stuck--but still posing for a shot!

lunch in the shade
Sierra de Laguna from the quad
In our short three months here there have been lots of gatherings. At one, we celebrated my sister Ann's birthday with a great group of people at the amazing and delicious Free Souls.

Another favorite moment was experiencing a Mexican family band: the parents and their five children. They played the most unique arrangements of rock classics, from La Bamba to Stairway to Heaven.

Monster Band
It seems that the theme of our time here has been community. We have been hiking together...
San Pedrito hike
...playing music together...
Todos Santos ukulele group meets every Monday.
 ... and just hanging out together.
with new amiga Susanna
Not many of our friends live here year-round. Even the permanentes tend to spend months away. There have been a lot of hellos and see-ya-laters. 

And we are following suit. In a few weeks, we fly away. For the first time, we are not driving back up Baja. We are storing our car with plans to return in March.

Dare I say it? This place is starting to feel like "home." I use quotes because I'm still not quite sure what that word means for my wandering soul. Dave says home is wherever his toothbrush is.

Maybe my home is Baja. Or maybe it's the world. Or maybe it's the wide sky inside.