Waves crashing in below us and jovial repartee from the ones below us in the small café. The waiter interrupts us. We order coffee, tea, or jugo de naranja, but, dedicated, we return to our writing. It’s what we’ve gathered for, here where it is quiet, up on the second floor. Leather covered tables, and equipales, too–– tablecloths of orange, yellow, purple, green and blue as though they had instructions to make use of every hue. These vivid pigments seep into all we write and do. Children leap through tide breaks, walkers gather shells. Swimmers move hand over hand, out beyond the swells. But we above just write of it, revealing how we love it as though we were a part of it instead of here above it.
The constant undulation and the murmur of the waves. The crashing of the breakers as they beat against the caves carved out by the chisel of the water making hives at the edges of the world that ensconced our busy lives.
It craved us as its audience. It pulled us to its shore. It calmed our petty grievances with its might roar. When it chose to rage it could wipe away our world, sweeping us away as its anger came unfurled.
At other times it lapped at us, assuaging all our pain. That’s why we returned to it, over and again. Walked along its edges, pierced its salty deep, uncovering the secrets so long within its keep.
Every morning it brought treasures to our waiting hands to examine as we walked along the morning-evened sands. Dollars from the ocean depths, stars out of the sea–– left there to be taken or to be let be
for the next beachcomber to claim them for their own to treasure on a mantel what the sea had thrown like necklaces at mardi gras, cast blindly and for free for denizens of dry worlds to collect on bended knee.
What we cast back on the waters determines ultimately what the sea will one day give back to you and me, and if we do not listen to the truth the tides may tell, the music of the waves may be our funeral knell.
With babies, every day is an education. This little story was acted out when we went to Tenacatita beach for the day. Down the beach, a tragedy was being enacted as a group worked to resuscitate a drowned man. Seconds after I viewed this touching scene as two mothers deal with the interaction between their babies, we realized what was happening in the background and we went down to see if we could be of aid. The oxygen I’d gone back to the house to get at the last minute before we left for the beach was of no aid to them, however, as though they worked diligently on the man and got his heart beating again, they never were able to get him to breathe on his own. One tragedy, one story of new life. This cycle is never more obvious than on the beach, but never before so graphically as depicted on this day. To see the happier story, you must click on the first photo. All photos will enlarge and be presented as a slideshow, complete with words.
The front and back of my beach rental open onto two different worlds. One is a world of cars, loud motorcycles, passing vendors with loudspeakers mounted on their trucks and at night, kids collecting to drink beer and blast music, other music from bars, mufflerless motorcycles and laughter. The other opens onto a pristine beach with sea birds, fishermen, dogs, sand, an informal “beach bar” where neighbors gather each night to sip tequila and watch the sunset. Since my beach cottage is essentially two large rooms with wide openings between and sliding glass doors and window that open onto the beach, plus another high double window that opens onto the street and that needs to be left open for ventilation, every morning I awaken to both worlds. And this year, the additional sounds of Morrie who is ready to be let out for morning functions, to be fed and then to be taken off (with tennis ball) for another morning’s adventure. Between his basic functions and the beach walk, however, looms a matter of more importance: THE BLOG!!! Sorry Morrie. One minute more, while I post this!
(Click on any photo to enlarge all and view gallery.)
Sounds of Morning
The music I awaken to when I’m at the beach is a symphony of sounds nearby and others out of reach. The gentle whirring of the fans beside me and above, and sounds outside my kitchen door that I have grown to love: the spread out carpet of the surf, the stirring of the dog— as I lie here on the couch, sorting out my blog. The day can’t really start for me until I’ve shed my words. We cannot walk upon the beach to watch the soaring birds and throw or chase the tennis ball as we do every day until I shake the words out and put them all away. The subtle tapping of the keys, the gas truck passing by outside the bedroom window with its annoying cry of “Ze-ta, Ze-ta, Ze-ta gassssss.” (I cannot wait for it to pass!) Then other traffic sounds fill in to fill the space where it has been. One room leaks in beach sounds to tell tale after tale of needle fish and rooster fish and tuna, snapper, sail— my porch like a receiver that gathers all these sounds of nature and of passers-by with which this beach abounds. Yet the bedroom window opens onto a busy street. I hear the passing traffic, the sound of passing feet. Neighbor greeting neighbor and the gas truck’s bray— all the usual street sounds of a noisy Mexican day. The dog protests more earnestly. He’s ready for our walk. He has no patience for this blog—its ponderings and talk. So I save what I have written, content with what’s at hand to wander off in other worlds of wind and surf and sand.
I could hear the beat of the band when they were a good distance down the beach, and wondered what the occasion could be. The festival of the Virgin on Guadalupe, Christmas and Tres Reyes were well behind us and Candelmas is a few weeks away. No patriotic observance was in the offing and I’d seen no previous funeral processions up the beach.
As the music drew nearer, the beat stayed true, but I was increasingly regretting the melody, which seemed to be comprised more of sounds than harmonies. I could tell that they had stopped in a nearby restaurant, though, so I grabbed my camera and made it to my porch just as the small cluster of boys with huge drum, jerrybuilt horns and impressive drum stand carried by a small boy who also carried a well-decorated tip jar made their way up the beach in my direction.
Spotting my camera, they set up in front of my porch and played one (very long) piece seemingly of their own authorship and possibly impromptu as well. The drum player belted out the lyrics while the others tooted their toots. Morrie seemed to be fascinated, although it’s hard to tell whether it was the music or the shoe of the tip jar bearer that intrigued him more. A very hefty tip was called for since none of the neighbors seemed to be appreciating this concert as much as I did and they thanked me heartily before moving once more up the beach.