Down the Baja road 2011

– A look at the unique road down the Baja peninsula and a nostalgic reminiscence of 25 years traveling down there –

Across the border Baja was waiting for us: An empty, barren desert land. Uncompassionate and merciful at the same time.

There is only one single road down the back bone of the Baja peninsula.

 A lonely road through a desert land that often seems deceptively boring. It is narrow – way too narrow for comfort.

 The Baja road was built in an extremely simple way, they saved wherever they could by just piling up some dirt, flattening the top and paving it, and they probably thought they saved the most by making it as narrow as possible. Uncountable drivers have suffered and continue to suffer from this miserliness.

When you meet one of those big semi-trucks on this road you have to drive with your right tires full on the white line marking the border of the pavement; and only inches next to this line the ground falls away. Driving on this Baja road is like balancing on a tight rope. One second of inattention and you fall; the moment you veer over the line any vehicle would inevitable tip over. And the line doesn’t even always exist; the pavement is also often broken away far into the driving space. And if you are afraid of the abyss to your right and drive too far toward the center you will crash into the oncoming truck.

There is so little room for error, it is pretty absurd. I’m not the only one who, over the years, lost mirrors and some other pieces that stuck out too far. And yet, one actually gets used to it, and we all drive with 50 mph and more and miss each other only by inches each time.

Just one moderate example.

 Early in the morning, heading south into the sun for another long day on this endless narrow band of road.

 The border to Baja California Sur at Guerrero Negro is marked by this gigantic flag; you can see it from 10 miles away emerging from the barren horizon.

The pavement is not always that good, but over the years it has improved.

  Not far south of El Rosario the road is gradually crossing from the cool Pacific to the hot eastern side.

An Elephant Tree: Torote Colorado in the mountains near Cataviña: a tiny godforsaken place in the middle of nowhere that doesn’t even have a gas station.

 

  Baja landscapes

 

  Cardón cactus

 The famous Cirio tree, endemic exclusively to the middle section of the Baja peninsula.

 The oasis of San Ignacio. (When Parvin was a physicist she briefly worked on selenium as material for semiconductors.)

 And one day we pull up at “the beach” again. In a way nothing has really changed, things come and go as they always do. The ocean is still warm.

 In one of the first nights it rains, first softly then pretty good. At a balmy 70 degrees I sit in the dark under the awning and listen to the rain. It hasn’t rained a drop for two years in Baja; now I sense how the plants are jubilant, drinking up the precious moisture. In a week or so leaves will grow from the bone dry bushes everywhere. In the morning the land is breathing the most wonderful aroma. Nothing smells as lavishly as desert after some rain.

* * *

Like this

by Rumi –  (1207 – 1273. Sufi tradition.Konya,Turkey)

 If anyone asks you

how the perfect satisfaction

of all our desiring will look,

lift your face and say,

like this.

When someone mentions the gracefulness of the nightsky,

Climb up on the roof and dance and say,

like this?

If anyone wants to know what spirit is,

or what God’s fragrance means,

lean your head toward him or her.

Keep your face there close.

Like this.

When someone quotes the old poetic image

about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,

slowly loosen knot by knot

the strings of your robe.

Like this.

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,

do not try to explain the miracle.

Kiss me on the lips.

Like this. Like this.

When someone asks

what it means to die for love, point

here.

If someone asks how tall I am,

frown and measure with your fingers

the space between the creases on your forehead.

This tall.

The soul sometimes leaves the body, then returns.

When someone does not believe that,

walk back into my house.

Like this.

When lovers moan, they are telling our story.

Like this.

I am a sky where spirits live.

Stare into this deepening blue,

while the breeze says a secret.

Like this.

When someone asks what there is to do,

Light the candle in his hand.

Like this.

A little wind cleans the eyes.

Like this.

* * *

It’s 25 years now that we come to Baja almost every winter. It’s been our playground, the background for a good deal of wonderful living, and often our classroom for some deep learning about the mystery of life.

 Memories of old Baja times: pages of an old photo album.

* * *

                                                           Klaus Nov. 15. 2011

This entry was posted in 2011/2012, Poems, Winters and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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