Baja With Mike
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Baja California Information Pages

Stories by Mike Humfreville

Dolphins Dancing    ( Posted April 25, 2005 )

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 undeservingly blessed.

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.

Copyright 2003-2006 Mike Humfreville

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