Montana Wolf

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Face the Cake

It is the first new moon of 2011. Waves hit shore, flow out of pre-dawn darkness. It is good to be in Bahia de Kino. I have returned to the pages of MotorHome Zen. When I traveled south I wasn't sure what book project would grab me by the scruff of the neck.  This one that I have re-written three times, or a new one that I've been scribbling about.  It is this one, and I am ecstatic. That stronger narrative arc that the publishers wanted has become clear. It feels like coming home...immersed in words again.

La Perla is parked at the far eastern end of the RV Park where there are only three palm-tree studded spots that face the ocean a stone's throw from the water. Or rather, a dog ball's throw. I prefer it here, away from the nucleus of the larger RV park that sits a little higher a few minute's walk away. Two rental casitas are between me and them. I sit under the palapa, read and watch the hypnotic waves; who needs television with the little piece of world that passes by on the beach? A few walkers in the morning and the Mexican fishermen that launch pangas at sunrise and return at dusk. 

And then there's the children and Teak. The look of joy she brings to their faces is priceless as she heaves herself into the waves after her ball, returns and drops the ball at my feet. I hand them the ball, they throw, she retrieves. Yesterday a teenage boy was batting his hardball  into a net and Teak kept going to the fence, signaling that she wanted in to play. He came out and threw the ball for her a few times before he realized his good fortune. A four-legged ball return! He took for the beach where he batted the ball and Teak retrieved. He called his sisters and mom who took videos.

Yes, the children. Neighbors Russell and Ken attended a 10-year old's birthday party. Thirty children and not one whined, cried or misbehaved. Their account reminded me of what I have witnessed in Guatemala with the Mayans. There was a pinata but it was not filled with candy...it contained two presents. Once broken, the mother went outside and stood at a window which was opened and the children lined up inside to receive a bag of goodies from her that included a ticket. They took the ticket to the hot dog cart where they traded it for a bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dog. The climax of the party, however, was the birthday cake, a large rectangular cake that sat upon a card table. The children gathered around the birthday boy, led him to the cake and proceeded to push his face into the sugar frosted desert. The laughter was uncontrollable.

Old Kino, the Mexican town. Palm trees and roosters crow at dawn. Dogs that show every rib and epitomize the word cur. Carts that sell fresh scallops and oysters and clams. Men hocking blankets and ironwood carvings of dolphins Yesterday I purchased a mobile made from coconuts...brightly painted fish that sway whimsy above the table where I sit and tap out changes to my book.

I think about those kids pushing the birthday boy's face into his cake. What an amazing ritual and lesson in the ability to laugh at ourselves...to not get caught up in being the star...to be humble. It's the perfect introduction to 2011, as the ocean turns blood red with dawn and the first new moon  rises with the sun.

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