Enchanted Mangrove Forest

I woke this morning at dawn, with my head spinning and my lips feeling parched, but I couldn’t sleep, so I got out of bed, showered, and joined my mother for coffee.

I went back to bed with Fuzzy around eleven and slept til one, then had lunch with my parents: a delightful salad of greens, tomatillo, red bell pepper, celery, onion, tuna, and tortellini with an olive oil and herb dressing. Tasty, fresh, and almost healthy.

Afterwards, Fuzzy and I went back to the casita where I tried to nap, but couldn’t school my mind to sleep, so I dragged him out to the beach.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

“Forward,” I said.

“And then what?”

“Turn right.”

And so we did, meandering down the beach toward the mangrove, watching shore birds play in the froth, and looking for shells. (We actually had a bag with us, so didn’t find any worth taking.)

About an eighth of a mile into the mangrove, there is a stream that flows from the desert to the sea, creating a miniature delta, and also creating a sandbar, upon which sits a single lone tree, much like a lone cypress. We waded – I waded – he jumped – across the stream, and found ourselves in a magical forest with singing birds, and the soft whisper of the waves, with the stream merrily flowing, and shells strewn around.

I watched two crabs dance around a third, and saw sand worms spit water at my toes. I wanted to go back for the camera, to capture this magical section of beach on film, but Fuzzy didn’t want to go back alone, and the tide was rising. Had we both gone back to the house, a return trip would have been impossible. Indeed, this is the first time in the week I’ve been here that this sandbar has not been submerged.

And so we captured it with our minds and hearts instead: watched gulls racing along the coast, heard the cries of frigate birds, saw a pelican dive for fish. At one point, seeing one, I said, “Duck.” Just as Fuzzy turned to look at it, the orange-headed creature looked at me, then ducked beneath the waves, coming up just a few inches from us, in shallow water. We stayed there, still and quiet, for several minutes, then turned back for home.

This has not been a warm December in La Paz. Indeed, it’s been abnormally cold, with temperatures in the low seventies, and high winds. The locals, Mexicans and American and Canadian ex-pats alike, are bundled in sweaters and long pants and SOCKS, while I’ve been scampering around in capris and tevas. Tomorrow is our last night here, and then on Friday night/Saturday morning, we’ll be home with our dogs and our soft bed (Mexican mattresses are distressingly rigid), and as much as I love living on the beach, I’m ready for winter and cozy evenings piled with quilts and blankets, and noise.


But I’m taking a piece of La Paz back home with me: the brilliant moonrise we saw on Christmas Eve, breathtakingly beautiful; the still picture of the moonlight beaming down, cutting a swathe of warm light across the midnight sea, the sounds of gulls and pelicans and owls, the joyous spiralling of the local hawks, and the sunset I’m watching as I write this, facing out to the bay, with the lights of La Paz winking into view across the water.

And of course, I will take home my afternoon in the enchanted mangrove forest.


Too much rompope and cidre and not enough water make MissMeliss cranky in the morning. My head is pounding, but I was up at 6 anyway, showered and dressed, and watching the sun rise over the bay with my mother, while we basked in the warmth of the crackling fire, and the glimmer of the lit Christmas tree.

We’re having an at-home day today, puttering, and doing laundry. Eventually, Ira will go into town to return borrowed purse stands (it’s considered bad luck to put your purse on the ground, so many outdoor restaurants have purse stands) that we used for hanging stockings, but the rest of us are off-duty. As soon as the sweaters are in the dryer I’m grabbing a bag and going down to the beach to see if there are any interesting shells. I’m intrigued by cone shells more than anything this year…

I had more to say, but the waves are distracting me and I’m not feeling terribly writey.

Peace, love, and chocolate to all.

Telephonic (Christmas by the Hour)

9:00 AM: Call from Marina, telling us she’s on the way.

10:00 AM: Call from Helen & Robert: they just got up and will be late.

11:00 AM: Call from friends of parents. “We miss you too much. Christmas isn’t the same without you.”

12:00 PM: Call from Helen & Robert: Can’t get trustworthy taxi. Please come fetch.

1:00 PM: Wrong number.

2:00 PM: Phone-free.

3:00 PM: Texted friends to wish them a Merry Christmas.

4:00 PM: Dinner: poached salmon on a bed of spinach leaves, green chili soup, whipped yams.

5:00 PM: Called Fuzzy’s brother to wish them a Merry Christmas. They were en route home from inlaws.

5:30 PM: Called Fuzzy’s dad to wish him a Merry Christmas. He was home alone. His mother was working.

6:30 PM: Called Fuzzy’s sister to wish them a Merry Christmas. Spoke with her and also with nieces Katie and Karri.

7:00 PM: Received call from stepbrother, he and parents chatted on webcam.

7:30 PM: Received call from pet-sitter: Zorro is only eating if she hand-feeds him, Cleo has been torturing him. He’s limping for attention, but otherwise all is well.

8:00 PM: Dessert. Mango torte. OMG good.

10:00 PM: Helen, Robert, and Marina head back to town.

11:00 PM: Tea and crackers.

12:15 AM: Time for bed.