The weather is certainly cooling now, in early November. Whale
Sharks are here but not in abundance. The whale shark-seeking
boats cruise the south end daily, searching. Searching. The
sharks are here but difficult to find this year. I ponder the
cause for change. Global warming is always in my thoughts. It
wouldn't be except that there is such a potential for
conflict. The large oil producers and consumers (including us
perhaps at the top of the list) hold it in their personal best
monetary interest to sell as many fumes as possible. Do we need
While I'm busy contributing to this problem,
I've slowed down on retirement. The road south from
Bahia de Los Angeles to our home near Camp Gecko I now drive at
12 MPH rather than 60. It's much nicer. Going slow I
find myself more observant of the environment.
I can forgive myself because in the past we were only here for a
few days or weeks and had no time to slow down. We had to make
the most of our own self-imposed limitations. But that has all
changed now. There is seldom a need to rush.
The road between the village and our house is pretty rugged from
recent rains, and living here it only makes sense to preserve
our vehicle by driving slower. Thus we do. There are many things
to see, regardless of the seasons. We often pass the aging yet
replenishing band of burros that have inhabited this region for
forever. The older one knows me and will allow me to slowly
approach him and pet him while his herd hides behind desert scrub-brush.
There are free-range cattle that wander wherever. Since their
eyes are opposed they see only in two dimensions. I assume they
don't recognize depth: how distant an object, a car for
example, is from them. I always brake for these beasts out of
concerns for the both of us animals. They cross the dirt track
hurriedly when they hear my truck and then stop on the sidelines
of the road to see what will happen to them next. Our windows
are always down and we pull adjacent to them and offer up our
best moo to them. They seldom respond but look at us questioningly.
Today we were coming down the road doing our usual 12 MPH with
exceptions, both faster and slower and Mary Ann said she saw
something crossing the road somewhere in front of us. In the
distance I thought I saw cattle crossing. I was wrong. It was a
small herd of goats.
It was a kilometer or so in front of us and we had reached a
smooth spot in the roadbed and I accelerated. We caught up with
the goats just as the last one crossed the road. They were
collecting in the shade of a mesquite tree. They all worked
together to fit within the patern of shade cast in the
mid-afternoon sun. They all craned their necks to look at us and
we issued our goat-like grunts that they paid little attention
to. Then a dog appeared.
He was a Baja dog, a blend of Shepard and Collie maybe, but
obviously in charge of the goat heard. He was protecting them
from an assumed threat, us. He stood between us and the tree
under which the goats had found shelter from the sun and was not
aggressive but very Alpha Male. It was clear to us that it was
his assigned responsibility to herd and protect the goats. How
smart some of us animals are.
He did a very good job; he stood, looking at us for a few
moments, trying, I would guess, to comprehend our intentions
before he returned to the herd, his foremost assignment. I
wondered if he lead them home at night, back to the old Diaz
Ranch. Did he fend off Coyotes? In my heart I wanted to live in
his body, actually his mind for a moment to see what I could learn.
All this on a six kilometer stretch of dirt road in Baja California.