Sunday, April 15, 2007
Today we took the children to Playa los Cerritos, the Beach of the Little Hills. To reach the beach, you drive south out of Todos Santos on the narrow two-lane Hiway 19 through the desert, past wide and narrow dry washes, these arroyos the only penetrable paths through the densely grown desert. We drove through the tiny oasis town of Pescadaro, shaded by tall palms, passed without knowing over the line of the Tropic of Cancer unmarked somewhere in the desert. Serena recognized the turn-off, an anonymous opening in the brush like so many others. We bump slowly over the rutted dusty road a mile to the beach.
We swam here nine years ago and only met one woman walking her pack of dogs. Serena had greeted her as a friend and told us of her house in the desert. Other than this one woman and a few surfers, black and shiny in wetsuits, silhouetted against the sun, we had the wide expanse to ourselves.
Los Cerritos now had a generator and a bar with a pool table and Internet access, huts for surfboard rental and horses for hire. A live band plays in the late afternoon. Under umbrellas, the bar armchairs have cushions. We spy a sun-bathing couple bearing the familiarity and sheen of celebrity – the blond woman with an enormous Gucci bag wears tiny triangles of fabric over her breasts, the man sports elaborate tattoos. Tommy Lee? No. His successor? I don’t think so. They are accompanied by a child with shoulder length hair, not much taller than Mia, who rides a boogie board smoothly through the surf. “Look Randy,” I called when I saw her, him? “A baby surfer!”
I tell Mia, “That’s the Pacific Ocean! It’s the biggest thing on earth!” I am sure she doubts me; Daddy could easily block her whole sight of the thing with his great big body.
The girls gambol in circles in the shallow surf, shrieking laughter as they splash. They throw rocks, plead to be lifted by their arms, dangled over the incoming waves again and again.
The sand sparkles with flecks of gold. There are also streaks of a finer black sand that sticks on the children’s skin even after we dunk them in the water up to their hips, then fling them high as they scream in delight, lower them again and again.
I wrap shivering Nora in a blanket, feed her some of the sour lime-tinged Mexican Tostitos called Incognito. She opens her mouth like a baby bird. Her fingers are caked with the black sand.
“This is Heaven,” I tell Brent and Serena. I mean it literally. This is all we get. How could a personally rewarding afterworld be any more than this? My dear beautiful children, my lover, and amiable, easy-going friends. Sun, breeze and sand as soft as cloud banks. Heart’s ease.