I'd barely made it to the gate when a reddish brown sea shell came spiraling out of the palm tree from above. I looked up to see a grackle. Grackle! Dropping shells from on high was the domain of the gulls. I'd almost been hit several times on the beach as gulls winged straight up into the sky and dropped their mollusk to the ground. It took 2 or 3 tries but they eventually split the shell and made their way to the meat. But a grackle? I inspected the shell and sure enough there was a critter inside.
I continued down the long stretch of sand. My friend Joe's shocking discovery was on my mind. Two days before, on the new moon (high, strong tides) he'd found a Seri Indian axe head, beautifully chipped. It was partially submerged in the sand at shoreline; the hewn sharp edge had caught his eye. Come to find out, many Seri treasures wash to shore, including their dolls. It makes sense. These lands and waters were their domain. Their Isla Tiburon (Shark Island), traditional Seri lands for millennia, is within site of my trailer. But this canyonland's woman hadn't made the connection. Ruins were in cliff side hideaways or on top of dusty, isolated plateaus; in sandy ravines and washes after rain. "Just look for the rocks," Joe said. Do you know how many rocks are on a beach when you really look? Furthermore, how could I find jingle shells if I was looking for rocks? One was heavy, rough and stony; the other translucent and angelic. My eye/brain connection was totally confused. Best to look to the sea.
And I did. Swimming in the distance was a small pod of dolphins. They dipped, dove and rose to the surface in wet arches of grace. They moved down the coast with me for awhile. I took a seat on the sand and watched for magical minutes as they circled and fed in one place just 20 yards away. I could have waded out and touched them. Then, in a fit of sudden leaps, they were on their way.
"Did you see the dolphins?" asked the sweet old woman in broken English. I'd seen her hunched figure from a distance. She wore a sack dress like my Danish Aunts used to wear. It was probably handmade, too, like theirs. "This bay used to be filled with them," she said with sadness. I don't doubt her words for a moment. Yesterday I'd seen two giant sea lions skimming the shoreline; and the same day Joe found that axe head I rescued a little octopus that had washed ashore clinging to a scallop shell. I've seen a pilot whales several times and one pod of over forty dolphins. It sounds like a lot but I've been here since Christmas and extensively covered beaches north and south of Kino. This bay should bubble with dolphin.
I had walked a ways further when a rock caught my eye. It had a significant worn groove down the middle. No way! A grinding or sharpening stone? I picked it up and carried it back. I'll show it to Joe. Either way, Seri tool or no, I'll return it to the ocean. It belongs there, with the dolphins, whales and octopi.