Baja is a place (unedited)
by Livy Tinsley
Baja, deep baja. Mestizos, indios, cactus, joshua trees, river beds trickling, Catholic shrines.
Before Europeans there were three tribes, the Cochimi in the north down to Loreto, the Guaycura from Loreto to La Paz and the Pericu in the Los Cabos area. They were mostly fisherman who ate the fruit of the cactus and hunted game and gathered the root of the agave or mescal. It was noted by Hernan Cortes that there were “abundant pearls” in this land that, at that time, they believed it was an island. The Jesuits came in the 17th century and established seventeen missions and introduced Christianity. The effort to subdue the natives failed largely due to the harsh weather conditions. Hurricanes, torrential rains and overdressing made life for the Spanish uncomfortable. However, the local population was decimated by the introduction of European diseases. In 1823 a successful rebellion by the locals against the Spanish resulted in the creation of Mexico.
Native rock art is the only evidence of the existence of the indigenous people. Baja is a wild place that only six years ago was almost impossible to travel in the average passenger car. Mexican One, the transpeninsular highway is now paved, but solitude is still Baja’s greatest commodity.
the day marches,
we march behind, along with, and sometimes ahead
of the day.
Mexico will even things out.
green, even, cool this time of year,
but green now, moist,
hard to conjure the drymouthed days of
dust-dry days and salt-dry skin,
cool cerveza to slake the thirst.
the world’s rolled outa bed to lay in the sun,
to shed the Afghan winter.
cold, cool, warm, fog, hot then dry
sounds like I’m longing for summer,
Not sure of the day, so far we’ve traveled 200 miles. 3 days into it and first day with waves. Guys’ve been crazy for surf. They’re glowing today. Eyes alight with the ocean. Strange journey. All this way to ride a wave like others they know at home. It’s the emptiness they say, the quiet, the being away and the elemental purity of a nearly untouched land.