We all talk a lot about the get-togethers in Baja and the warm social moments along the peninsula where we gather as family and friends, in groups small and large. We do the long-term campouts, the weekends amongst pals and we experience the too-short moments with our young children in remote places. But some of the things that mean the most to me about Baja California are the times where the noise from north of the border has dimmed and I have had a few days, a week, a month, a summer just to idle at my own pace.
It takes a little time to allow our personas to drop to the slow speed of Baja and the warm folks that live along the way there. It takes time to shake the jitters of us in the U.S. and recover our mellow-fellow attitude where we find time for the cares of others.
On my drive to work on So Cal weekdays I have to keep the radio running or otherwise entertain my mind with music or some extraneous thought process just to keep the repetitive voices, my own, from rerunning the last phrase I thought or uttered from carrying on non-stop, looping as if recorded on tape through the synapses in my mind But in Baja this is not a problem.
I can amble along the white sands five walking minutes west of Cielito Lindo and hear the thunderous roars of major breakers from the rambunctious flows of the great Pacific. I watch the gulls, the shifting sands, the lighter blue of sky deepening into the hues of the ocean and feel the cool breeze working against my arms and chest, feel it passing through my thinning hair and know I am in my zone.
I can stroll along the beaches of Cabo with the tourists and feel the sands shake as the rough surf pounds down on the steep beach, smashing, crashing waves, a moment of nature at her best. I can look to the horizon and see major cloud-collections gathering over the arguments between heated and cooling airmasses and not hear a single word running through my mind after days of just being there in the calm air and climes, simple lives of others.
There are no sounds in my head as my shoes press into the dark and brown volcanic lava that flows into the edge of the sea of Cortes at Bahia de Los Angeles. I am at peace and one with my world. As I walk there, stepping from igneous rock into sand and back again my mind is occupied with the rough physical variances of surface, texture and crude colors. There is no inner voice. I have achieved that great state of tranquility. Nature has wrested my inner voice from me and squelched it at last.
At La Gringa the beach is composed of small, smooth and flat stones that talk to you when you walk there. They tell a collective story of what life is like in the small bay and the lagoon behind and how they've lived for so many eons, of passing crabs and gulls and the ebb and flow of tides that have changed them from rough and irregular shapes into smooth and yielding bodies. At Las Cuevitas, a few kilometers north, the stones are larger and not so worn. As you walk there you might notice that their voices are deeper, heartier and more robust. They have wilder tales to tell, of the open gulf for they fall just outside the more protected waters of the bay.
Each surface along the peninsula has its own composition and character. In Bahia each stretch of beach, each piece of sea, each island, each small slice of air is flying solo and proud. The birds know this as they live their repetitive days. The small beach creatures know this as they pass from sunrise to sunset to sunrise day-after-day throughout their lives. Small fish dart from larger and the larger from larger still.
Tonight my inner voice is stilled. I have entertained myself and my dull-but-noisy mind by focusing on my favorite places. Now that I'm done I will have to get up from this keyboard and turn on some music that will keep my inner voice entertained.
And in my mind I'll try to sense the quiet laps of the calm sea at La Gringa and the small sounds of the hermit crabs as they scurry across the sands and stones toward the water to avoid my bare feet. The small barbs on their smaller bony legs are brushing the surfaces of the stones. I can hear them just now. Followed by another footfall.