The Moon, Chocolate Clams and Scallops

                          “Imagine…..A Sandy beach, A Starlit Sky, A Glass of Wine and Still in Love”

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                                                 The Moon,  Verdi & Vivaldi

“The clouds choreographed their dance across the face of the brilliantly illuminated full moon to the magical notes of Verdi, La Traviata, Act 1, creating a sense of Zen, comparable only to the most peaceful feeling available to a human being…..a sense of completeness, a sense of understanding of life itself, a sense of joy to be alive.

Vivaldi-The Four Seasons-Spring Allegro, intervened with a competitive interpretation of the dance, majestically stating his own sense of the understanding of peace.

The moon stood alone in the center of the two empowering banks of clouds, one to the left, one to the right…..the Master’s notes bouncing from one star-wrapped stage to the other, each vying for the ultimate interpretation of Zen, the embodiment of eternal peace.

A night on the beach, toes in the sand, Playa de Santispac, BCS, Mexico

The Next Morning……..

Our kayak glided effortlessly across the crystal clear water of our beach, reminding us why we keep returning to the beautiful Playa de Santispac. It sits alone, nestled in a range of mountains, its eastern shore slipping gently into the Sea of Cortez. The tranquility transforms your very being into a state of peacefulness.

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A handful of vendors visit the beach everyday selling everything from local crafts to scallops and clams….to fifty gallon drums of water. We enjoy it all and it is our habit to buy a little something from everyone. The rewards are great. Today, one of our favorite venders, Chicho, invited us to join him on his ponga in the morning and learn how to catch the local scallops and clams. “I will be here at 8:00 am tomorrow morning,” he announced enthusiastically.

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Three young travelers headed for Patagonia in a GMC van…Nathan and Courtney from Brisbane, Australia and Kanki from Japan…..joined us for a drink after dinner. Tony pointed out that our beautiful moon from the night before had disappeared. How could a full moon just disappear, he wondered out-loud. Nathan had heard something about an eclipse somewhere, but he hadn’t listened carefully and didn’t know much.

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Within minutes, under a brilliant star-studded sky…..adorned with a vivid show of the Milky Way……a strange, little white light appeared over a peak on the mountain. For the next two hours, we sat in awe as the Earth’s shadow passed over the glowing face of the Moon, providing us with the most stunning eclipse we have ever seen. The magical moments of our life overwhelm us at times.

As promised, and only a half hour late…good compared to most Mexican time promises…. A grinning Chicho bounced onto the beach in his old pick-up truck, ready to take us to sea for the day.

As he tossed our snorkel bag into his ponga and fussed with his ornery engine a few times, he asked, “Listo, mi amigos. Ready to find clams, big ones, today?

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Happier than kids in a candy store, we assured him we were ready. The engine fired up and the boat sped across the calm sea. We headed for a place only known to him and he cut the engine and invited us into the water with him. For the next couple of hours we watched and learned as he showed us what to look for to find the beloved clams that he sold to tourists. He taught us how to find and clean scallops. He held my hand as he guided us over the sharp coral of the reef. With no swim steps to assist us, he lifted us out of the water and over the side of the boat, only to take us to another favorite spot to do it all over again. He returned us to our beach camp and humbly asked if we were happy. It was incredibly hard to find the words to tell him how happy we were on so many levels.

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What does it mean to watch a man practice a trade that was probably handed down from father to son for countless generations, a trade that has fed him and his children for his lifetime? What does it mean to watch a man so artfully move his body that you feel as though you are watching a choreographed water ballet?

I watched his every move. I watched him spot two, tiny, black breathing holes from the water’s surface. I watched his body gracefully descend to the ocean’s floor and I watched his hand dig deeply and quickly into the sand. I watched as it reappeared holding a giant chocolate clam. I watched twenty-four times and he never missed once.

Now I am left to ponder the simplicity and the beauty of his life, his culture, his dependence on the sea for his every need and his deep love of the ocean. He wants for nothing, other than the clam to feed his family. I wish I had been born a fisherman.

Playa de Santispac, Baja California, BCS, Mexico  2015

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