In the wee hours, just as the sun had begun to illuminate the sky, we made our way along dusty, winding paths towards our destination, an organic farm 2 miles across the valley in the shadow of Mount Kuchumaa (High Exalted One).
It was amazing to see the landscape bend and shift before me as the rising sun cast colourful illuminations. We walked in formation — practically ran really, in a race against I don’t know what. I am not an early bird gardener-type. I do not greet the dawn with grace. I linger, stumble around, curse the universe, and beg for just one more minute in my comfy cocoon. But then, once I manage to drag my body out of bed, I find it is always worth it. In this case it was worth facing the morning’s cold air, my sleep-deprived crankiness, and the weirdly competitive colourful spandex-cloaked run-walking to see this beautiful coastal chaparral before the harsh and blinding midday sun transforms it into something else entirely.
Happy New Year!
I wrote my first year-end wrap-up post in 2010 and continued with it in 2011. As I sit here at my desk the end of 2012 [note that I began compiling this post just before the New Year], the garden buried underneath a blanket of snow, I feel compelled to continue the exercise, in part, because I can hardly remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, never mind what I did over the last year! I have a tendency to be onto the next thing the second the last thing is done. Exercises like this are a good memory jog and a way to slow down, look back, and remind myself of the things I accomplished in the recent past.
2012 began with a tranquil week in the desert or more specifically, coastal Baja California desert chaparral. Oh, how wonderful it smelled. There was rosemary in bloom and sunshine on my face. There was an organic farm with a head gardener who could match me in his enthusiasm for seeds and interesting edibles. We plunged our hands into warm soil and pulled out fresh carrots. We spent our nights cozying up to a fragrant wood fire and toasted our escape from the frozen, scentless world at home. I loved every minute of it.
I recently had an assortment of old film developed (recently being tonight) and one of those rolls contained photos that I took last January at Rancho la Puerta in Tecate, Mexico.
The hot peppers are in their prime, the late season tomatoes are ripening faster than I can use them, the sun is setting earlier in the evening (no more gardening until 10pm) and even the tomatillos are not far now. All of the hallmarks of the September garden have arrived. I am trying my best this year to enjoy it as-is without fretting about summer’s end.
When I booked our trip to Rancho la Puerta, a spa/retreat in Baja California, Mexico a few months back, it was under the assumption that it would be the most vacation-like vacation of my life. I pictured it in my mind as a soft, full-page ad in a magazine, full of promises that I have never desired in a travel destination until recently: stress-free relaxation, time away to rebalance and reconnect with oneself, and an embarrassing heap of lavish, bourgeoisie pampering.
Typically, when I travel I want to see, eat, and do it ALL. I research profusely. I make lists and print out maps. I Google photos of the landscapes, plants, and cityscapes that are available to be seen. I dream of the photos I will take. I spend hours picking and choosing my camera gear carefully, only to change it all up at the last minute and then I wear myself thin, schlepping five cameras, lenses, rolls of film, and first aid supplies (be prepared!) up melting, tropical asphalt roads that no local would be foolish enough to ascend in the midday heat. Somehow, I always end up in the hottest locations at the most punishing times of the day. I enjoy being in and around the ocean, but I am not a relax on a blanket with a pulpy novel and a Mai Tai kind of traveler. I don’t even know what a Mai Tai is other than a vacation drink that comes with a tiny straw. [I am Googling it now].