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Stories by Mike Humfreville

Cycles    ( Posted November 22, 2005 )

In morning winds the birds work south. They surf the surface waiting for a small disturbance from below and take advantage of the bait, sardines or mackerel which rise to a distance where the birds can strike, capture and consume them.

The pelicans, seagulls and boobies prefer a small point to the south of our house. It's rocky there, small worn and rounded rocks, snuggled amidst the sand, and the point protrudes out a hundred meters or so into the south end of Bahia de Los Angeles in the Sea of Cortez. Small fishes collect amongst the rocks for perceived protection. It doesn't work but that's genetics and you can't change it. At least not yet. What has caused the survival of the fittest continues. Considerations for other species may have been omitted from this equation.

The birds soar and swirl and wait for the small fish to break the surface and then plunge from a hundred feet or more above the sea surface with an intensity that seems like it would break their necks. Pelicans in particular with their extended protuberances. But up they pop, throw their beaks back to swallow and head off into the next pass undeterred.

When we catch fish, from our boat or shore, we bring them in whole to prevent spoilage and a mess on the tiny boat. A small cleaning table is situated next to the boat ramp. As it's within the federal zone, along the water, it belongs to everyone which is the way we like it anyway. When we or others clean fish there the birds collect. Gulls are the noisy ones; the pelicans are more stately, seemingly dignified. They all wait for a morsel of gut. If you throw it into the air the gulls will catch it almost every time. The pelicans wait for the larger pieces of flesh thrown on the ground.

It's sad to destroy a life; a fish in this story. While I know, at least I feel in my ignorance that many classes of less intelligent animals don't have "family values," I do know that nothing in Baja California goes to waste. I'd have to back up on that statement to think about oil products, plastic in particular, which are damaging our whales and dolphins. Otherwise, every element I can imagine that offers nutrition is fully utilized and returned to the planet in another form. To be consumed again. The often-discussed second harvest of the 1700 Indian bands, rancherias, that foraged seeds from their own aging fecal matter and ground them into meal is an issue, not a pleasant one to consider but an example of the point on utility.

The birds continue baiting. The small sand crabs are working dead snails for entrails. The wind rises and shifts and all of us animals on the beach are influenced. All of this is in my mind as I am 600 miles north of my heart. But I am home with my children and on a holiday celebrated in the United Stated of America known as Thanksgiving is a day away and we want to share that day with Kevin and Michael.

From our small rented orchard property avocados and lemons are provoked by a strong east wind, called Santa Ana's just a bit south where the momentum of Los Angeles needs to invoke terms with greater pictorials. The small trees, lemons, and the grander ones, avocados, are busy understanding and learning from their uncontrollable environment tonight. The winds buffet the trees fruits from their thin branches. The fruit falls to the ground. It seems like such a waste; but wait, I ask myself.

The fruit falls to the earth like the reverse process of the bait jumping above the surface of the waters to serve the birds of the Sea of Cortez. The gulls and pelicans benefit from the bait. The small land animals, mice, rats, even our dogs benefit from the droppings of the orchards here. The remaining elements of these activities, it seems to me in ignorance, go downstream to support additional growth on our small Earth that we need to protect.

While I'm not educated or experienced on what it all takes, I do know that working together and paying attention fits.

It all happens in cycles. We just need to listen I think to myself.

Copyright 2003-2006 Mike Humfreville

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