We arrived at the Pyramid hotel Friday afternoon for a Baja
author's booksigning. A number of others had already arrived or
would arrive that afternoon. We settled into our rooms and then
visited, shared the evening meal at a local restaurant, went
back to our rooms and visited some more until way late. It was
great seeing old friends we had spent times with in Baja.
The book signing was a swirl of activity, buying new books and
visiting with the authors and more friends, some of which we had
made previously, and some new. It's an interesting thought, to
me anyway, why friendships formed around Baja California seem to
have a special meaning, deeper somehow than what we normally
think of as "friendships." Maybe it's because Baja folks tend to
be outside any "envelope." Perhaps we're "explorers," in the old
sense of the word.
During mid afternoon I broke from the activities to watch the
ground swells of the great Pacific. The hotel sits high on a
bluff overlooking the water. I'm used to the Sea of Cortez side
where we're both on the same level. It's always interesting to
see things from another angle. Also, the Pacific side, ignoring
its name, is a lot more rambunctious than the gulf side.
As I'm watching the waves working I see many dolphins amidst
them. They've been there all day, but I've been too busy to pay
attention. But now, in the afternoon, the dreary clouds of
morning have parted; the sun is shining through in bursts upon
the water. The dolphins are surfing the waves. Miguelito joins
me and tells how he was just watching them and, with the sun
behind the waves working toward the beach, could see them
silhouetted in the water, golden in the afternoon light of early
spring. It was magical.
Soon others spot the dolphins and join us. The dolphins were
catching the waves, working toward the beach and then turning
back into deeper waters, breaching the surface in small groups.
A few were doing continuing 360-degree flips above the water. We
all stood on the bluff above, laughing and clapping. The beasts
below must have heard us because the performance continued for
most of the afternoon.
I once read that animals have no sense of humor. I've wondered
about that for so many years. Could it be true? I don't think
so. While I can joke about the dolphins purposely entertaining
us (while they are completely unaware of our existence, in our
current environment), I couldn't imagine what they were doing
other than having a great time, that small pod, together and
working the surf.
There were many activities scheduled for the book signing
weekend, but other than the dolphins and the friends and the
authors, nothing stood more seriously out. It was another great
event, as always. There are too many to count. I must somehow be
On Sunday, we were headed for the border at Tijuana, but were
diverted to Otay Mesa.
It is our habit, when we are crawling forward in the long wait,
to find our loose change and put it on the dash and look for an
impoverished Indian in obvious need and drop a few coins in her
cup. Without harboring any prejudice or a need to find
superiority, I just can't sit and ignore their suffering without
remembering that we all have suffered and empathizing with them.
Yesterday's wait in line offered up yet another touching moment.
We dropped coins in the cups of several young and aged mothers
with children. I had to keep my sunglasses on because my eyes
were wet from trying to put my head into the heads of the people
asking for money and their lifestyle, if I can call it that.
Then we came upon a man and child. They were standing on the
highway divider near the border. I was in the left land and saw
him playing a violin. They were a hundred feet in front of my
slowly advancing position. When I saw the instrument I turned
the radio off and rolled the window down to hear him playing. As
we crawled forward the sweet strains of music drifted into my
window and heart and I watched the man and his child and thought
about how they lived and I tried not to cry noticeably. By the
time we came upon them the truck was filled with his music, warm
music, and I could see the man was blind.
Sometimes I am consumed with the tragedy of life. A man,
blinded, standing along a border crossing, playing a violin,
while his child holds a cup for donations. Not for charity. For
donations. Favors for a favor, and that it was. The line was
slow and we were pleased to hear his music for a few minutes
before we moved out of range. But my heart has a greater range
than my ears and I can keep the man and his child in it forever.