Sunday, December 08, 2013

A Journey of Curiosity

The bow of a kayak leaves a crease in the gravel as it pushes back from the beach. Nine others slide seaward as paddlers tuck in legs, stretch spray skirts over cockpit coamings, and check moving parts. The paddlers glide along a coastal cliff, passing between rocks in a graceful slalom.

A small white gull paddles with folding feet to hide behind a miniature rock island. A white kayak sneaks up and pauses for a closer look.

“It has a dark dot behind its eye.”
“Bonaparte’s Gull?”
“Don’t see them much around here.”

The kayaks glide on. Wild fig trees cling to rock walls with long pale toes. Cacti dig their roots into creases. Cliffs rise sheer. High above, the frigates lounge on crooked wings and watch as little darts of color stitch the rocky shoreline into a memory.

Rocks structure our world. They cradle our beds, define our landings, funnel the wind, hem the sea. Plants and animals, too, have relationships with geology. Shelter. Support. Mineral sustenance.

I am paddling the coast from Loreto to La Paz, along the Sierra la Giganta mountains, for 10 days with 9 other people including Anna, who has been so moved by the expressive geology that she’s on a mission to make a guide for paddlers. She has inspired me with her enthusiasm. We’re not specialists in anything except curiosity, but onward we go, asking questions, taking photos.

Along the edge of the sea, rocks expose themselves. In their breaking, eroding, dissolving, re-sorting, they show their weaknesses and demonstrate their strength. The sea opens to a page, and we try to read the stories of the rock—the crooked, massive, tiny, colorful stories.