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Stories by Mike Humfreville

Brisa's Moon    ( Posted July 7, 2006 )

Brown pelicans are floating just offshore, a safe distance from us in their minds I imagine. Mary Ann and I went swimming just before they settled onto the surface. I ask myself what it might feel like with my underside in 70 degree water and my other side in 100 degree sun.

I am downstairs in our Baja home, listening to a variety of mellow tunes. As the day wears on and the sun settles behind the westward mountains the pelicans, in small groups, ignite from the surface of the calm sea, form into vee's and fly gracefully off to the north. They seem to appreciate the craggy shoreline there, in their nightly nesting grounds. Perhaps it's the steep mountains that allow them to launch toward the sea with little effort. If I could get into the mind of a pelican I'd be there.

A year ago, and a year before that, a young lady from Mexico City was staying at Camp Gecko. Her name is Christina. She is friends with others in camp and we shortly became pals too. She is educated in marine biology and we all shared our varied experiences together around dinner and camp fires. Cristina is sweet and pure and filled with knowledge that we all appreciated.

But this year she is gone.

We asked our friend Abraham where she is and he thought she was across the peninsula at Laguna San Ignacio. Her focus was whales so that made sense. It was the time of year the whales return to the lagoon to bear their young and reproduce.

Christina always joined us for the evening fire. We would collect at some mutual spot on the beach and spend the evening sharing. Often a musician, a guitar player or whatever would join us and provide a mood.

One night Christina was sitting across the fire from me. The moon was full; she noticed and remarked about it. Our attentions turned to the glowing orb in our shared sky. Sometimes events like this cause us to realize the relative insignificance of a human being. Words were not necessary.

That was the last time we saw Christina. I hear she is now in Vera Cruz and continuing her studies. Our world will be improved because of her loves of life.

A few days ago we were visiting with friends to our south. They have a baby. Her nickname is Brisa. She is less than two years old and learning to say a few words. She understands more that she iterates. It's a pleasure to watch her form her mouth into a shape that will issue the sound she knows. She is sitting beside me on a small wall that defines a patio. She takes a paper from my pocket. I produce a pen and show her how that combination works. Brisa doodles.

Her mom and dad tell us that she's learning words and thus concepts I think in both Spanish and English. Watch her her mom says. I do. Mom says a single word. Luna is the word mom utters. Brisa hears the word and immediately throws her eyes and head upward to the precise site in the heavens where the moon is positioned. She has a strong vision, at her young age, of the moon.

Later Mary Ann and I are home. I'm reflecting on Brisa's recognition of the moon and my mind wanders. Christina is in my thoughts as is Brisa. Christina is off doing her academic thing and learning about our small world and its fragility. She is gaining in her experiences and understandings of life, of whales and turtles of humanity and how to cope.

Brisa has another view. She is tiny and so young and innocent and forming. I hear Christina mention the moon, and it has a complete and unique meaning to her. She is almost grown up. Brisai'a view is less complete perhaps. She is beginning to comprehend words and meanings. I wonder where the world will be when Brisa is grown.

And just what, exactly, do we see when we view a moon? We are each of us unique; we see what we have in our minds waiting to jump forward into an image. In Brisa's face I reflect on the complete innocence there, as with Christina. It is a touching moment for me.

Pure young eyes meet a moon for the first time. How sweet, tender. I've been looking at life for so many years I sometimes forget the purity of us. That is not the case with the young, seeing something for the first or second time.

There are times in my life that I'd like just to climb back into childhood and innocence, to experience something for the first time uniquely. But that'll never happen, it's unnatural.

So I guess I'll just have to imagine what Christina and Brisa are seeing, how they are integrating their new images into their own perspectives. I know they will grow into strong independent women. I hope they have time to look into unknown worlds and wonder. I know they will, each in their own way.

The sun fades. The last contingent of pelicans departs for the north and I am alone on the sand with my worthless wondering mind. I don't think I did anything to offend the birds. Unless it was my loud music. It's only a 400 watt amplifier.

Maybe they just don't appreciate Don Henley's singing.

Copyright 2003-2006 Mike Humfreville

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