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Baja California Information Pages

Stories by Mike Humfreville

Buzzards and Moss Balls    ( Posted April 29, 2006 )

A tall Cordon, serrated if that's the correct word, to allow it to absorb rare rains when available by expanding its ribs like drawing a deep breath into lungs.

There are many cordon in the central desert. Most have several vertical "fingers" that project into the blue sky here in the mid-peninsula. I drove by one today with four fingers. There were only a few feet between the projectiles. Large Buzzards were perched atop each. As most birds are territorial I was surprised to see them so apparently friendly toward each other. But there they were with wings spread in the heat of the day, fanning themselves, perhaps appreciating their own comparative size against the others in the small flock. I thought of a bookend it was so picturesque. I wished I\u2019d have brought my camera, but sometimes images are better captured in the mind than on film or paper. The mind can recreate the image as one wants it. Often an exaggeration.

I stopped my truck in the road to appreciate the birds. They were unafraid and peaceful as I watched them from my driverside window. Black, very black birds against a blue sky and I wondered what, if anything, they were thinking. Who was this two-legged beast staring up at them? No feathers, just skinny arms and a small amount of fur covering them. How could he stay warm at night?

Several weeks ago I went with some friends into the desert to visit San Borja, a mission in the central peninsula. On the road I noticed something, a plant I've never seen before even though, on looking it up in Norm Roberts Baja California Plant Field Guide I didn't recognize it. It's called Ball Moss. While it does grow in the form of a grapefruit-sized ball, it is not a moss and it seems to be endemic to Baja California's central desert. I made the erroneous assumption that it was a parasitic relationship between the cactus and the ball moss. I was wrong. It is symbiotic. Both sides win. The ball moss captures water from the air to sustain itself without drawing energy from its host. I wondered if the small patch of shade cast by the moss could be beneficial to the host. So many things to ponder and I'll never learn them all thank goodness, else what would I do with my time?

As I type tonight Mary Ann tells me a bat just flew in the open door. This is common and never a problem. Bats are smart enough to find their way out, even avoiding the dual-glazed panes on our doors and windows. The weather is warming. Soon it will be hot, so hot it will be uncomfortable for some, not all. I enjoy the heat. Shorts and a lightweight shirt and flip-flops clicking and clacking along the sands of summer. The bay will fill with foreigners fishing for Jurel and the locals will make good money guiding the visitors.

A tiny slice of time destined to carry us forward into yet another century and life. Sometimes it moves so fast and at others it drifts between cloudlike blurs it's just almost not real.

We are lucky indeed.

Copyright 2003-2006 Mike Humfreville

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