RHYTHMS OF THE DESERT
By Carolyn Richardson
The wind is howling outside. It sneaks in through a crevice, a lyrical song of its own composition, whistling, humming, buzzing, whirling. A draft here and there as I walk by a closed door—suddenly a blast of crisp air explodes in from a door that was pushed open by the gusty, swirling wind outside. The clanking of the blinds against the window pane in the living room produce the percussion, while the wind chimes off my back patio bouncing around and the humming wind provide the melody, together creating their own desert symphony. As I look out my kitchen window, the hummingbird feeder sways with each gust, like dancers interpreting a musical score. A determined hummingbird masters the bobbing feeder, sucking sweet nectar, as together they swirl about as one. The tall palm trees off in the distance sway and play with the wind, a desert tango set between the shadowed mountains and the Sea—a mirage seen through a sandy filter.
But this is not how it always is in this Village by the Sea. The sun can and does rise off the turquoise Sea of Cortez, quietly slipping into the morn, bringing with it tranquil and brilliant blue sky, with not a speck of puffy white cloud—and falls just as silently over the shadowy, purple mountains to the west, casting hues of pink and blue over the horizon sky. Just as the huge orange sun can sink into the Pacific Ocean on the other side of this diverse Baja peninsula, on this side of the land of the peninsula the copper moon rises from the Sea like a phoenix in its never ending cycle of life.
One day will bring warm sultry sun, and stillness of air—the next day a gentle breeze cooling the air and brushing a cheek with kisses of warm sunshine. We splash about in a pool, lounge and read a favorite book, sip a tangy drink while chatting with friends, new and renewed. Bodies tanned by the sun, protected by moisturizers, shaded by floppy hat or anchored colorful sails hanging above us, we laugh and share stories with each other, check our emails on our ever-present computer tablets or cell phones, or just ease into an afternoon siesta. We marvel that we are so lucky, that this is our way of life, not just a short vacation at a resort. This is our home—be it for weeks or months at a time, or every day.
We arrive here in a frazzle, after a long drive from Somewhere Else. Packed up the car or van, and headed southward. Escaping in some cases. Escaping the snow and cold ‘back at home’, wherever and whatever home may be to us. Escaping the work of jobs and stress, things that need doing, things we perceive that need to be done. And we arrive here to our Village by the Sea, the desert floor couched by the high barren shadowy mountains on the West, and the tranquil turquoise Sea to the East. And within hours or a day, we slip into the rhythms of the desert. I have heard people say, they have a ‘green’ season and a ‘brown’ season. Green is back home above the border, where its lush and green in varying degrees, and of course its lush and green because of the acres of rain or snow or both it receives—which we desire to escape during the winter months! And the brown is here in the desert, with its own beauty, tranquility, and hues within the kaleidoscope of color range. Ah but this year there is ‘green’ here as well! Our village by the sea received a much larger portion of rainfall than the norm during the summer months, with roads becoming gullies that became streams. New pathways emerged where none had previously existed, bushes were flattened, man-created objects toppled as the flood waters rushed and gushed. But after the crush of water, the desert floor responded with a multitude of yellow flowers, olive green grasses and a profusion of velvet-like emerald leaves on the Ocotillos. Color abounds!
Yes the brown remains and exists—but even a non-discerning eye will see the profusion of greenery and color—if pressed, one may even admit the desert can truly be beautiful. One only has to see it. Feel it. Experience it. Be open to it. Por que no?
Gray days, star lit nights, sun kissed days, birds and butterflies, creepy crawly things, dusty roads, laughter and good times, warm friendships, quiet nights, bonfires on the beach, the swirl of the wind and the swirl on the dance floor to the melodies of nature and music made by men and women. A sense of adventure—where does that road go to? Let’s try a restaurant we’ve never gone to before. Try something you haven’t done before! Get into the rhythms of this place and see where it leads. There is a rhythm to the desert—slow down, get in step with her, and she will show you marvelous things in this Village by the Sea.