Seven Years

Today is the anniversary of my arrival on the East Cape of Baja. It was seven years ago that I arrived in Cabo Pulmo after a very long journey across and down the west coast of North America. In these seven years I have learned much, evolved greatly and experienced many incredible things.

Arriving with a most rudimentary knowledge of the language, over the course of these seven years I have learned to speak Spanish. I continue to learn new words almost every day and there are still moments of confusion, but they are quickly resolved.

I learned to surf from a wonderful teacher. I met committed and some famous surfers and surfboard shapers. I got six stitches in my head and xrays of my back. I found a wonderful chiropractor who helped straighten it all out.

I learned when to walk away and when to stick it out. I learned that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your best efforts are not enough. I learned that trusting souls can be trusted and the converse is also true.

I learned that wachinango (red snapper) is my favorite fish and that oysters are best eaten right on the beach where you purchased them from the friendly ostioneros (the oyster fishermen).

I learned there are too many dogs here that need a home for me to adopt them all. I learned that it is not wise to have someone’s dog fixed without making sure it’s really their dog.

I saw pink pigs swimming in the sea and digging on the beach for crabs. I befriended a one-eyed donkey who wore Marti Gras beads. I saw a dead colt eaten completely by vultures in less than one day.

I saw a moon that made a golden trail across the sea and more stars than I can count. I lived through at least three hurricanes and many more tropical storms. I survived the dengue hemorrhagic fever that kept me down for months and covered my body in tiny blood blisters. I attended three funerals and many memorial services. I learned that lo siento has a double meaning, “I am sorry” and “I feel it” to express that you understand their pain.

I dove deep under the sea and saw countless beautiful animals. I watched as turtles were captured, tagged and released. Helped to find turtle nests so that they could be protected from predators and watched tiny hatchlings set out on their incredible journey to the sea. I witnessed the migration of morbula rays and the humpback whales breaching and playing with their young.

I wondered at the destruction as the shrimp trawlers chugged by and was dismayed at the death of a whale caught in a drift net. I photographed and reported the decimation of a large track of pristine desert by greedy, ignorant developers and was saddened by the fencing of once wild and open land.

I planted a garden. I felt the warm sun. I swam in the vast sea. I watched the day fade into shades of purple and pink.

I rediscovered my passion.

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2 thoughts on “Seven Years

  1. WOW – I only just started reading your blog and I am gob-smacked (blown away for anyone who is not used to the term). This particular post made my spine tingle. Seriously – this is awesome. What a life. What an incredible story. I love it.

    • John, Thank you so much for reading and for commenting. Living in isolation and often filled with doubt, your positive feedback means the world to me. I’m writing a book and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Knowing that my words can have this kind of impact does me immeasurable good. I do hope you’ll keep reading.

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