* MARCOS, actually... (but WAX was nearby)
Each day, as we walk to the beach, we pass by the open-air "living room" of a very fine man, a local, and surfer/hammock-maker -- called Marcos. (But go ahead and Google his buddy, Wax's website -- probably wax.com, or waxsurf or waxphotos -- I can't recall for sure, for daily photos of the surfers and the surf of La Saladita. Yesterday (June 6, 2012) was such epic surf that, surely, any photos he may have posted will match that mood.... but I digress.) Now back to Marcos:
...today I mention him because of a touching tableau for which I have no photographic record. We were, as we do every day, passing by his open-air living room. It is barely separated from the road by a thin hand-woven wall, and has a wide welcoming entrance, through which you can see everything. There he was, sound asleep on the cement floor, his head pillowed on -- wait for it -- the soft body of his big dog! The dog opened one eye to check us out, but did not stir, for he would not disturb his master's sleep. And equally touching, completing this tableau -- was Marco's mother. Madonna-like, she sat quietly in a chair beside him, as a mother might guard her sleeping infant.
* ELEGY FOR SUZIE
Suzie deserves an elegy. Suzie was a Doberman Pincer, raised to be a fighting dog -- in other words, brutalized so that she would attack, fiercely and relentlessly, anything that came within her reach. She must have earned her master a great deal of money -- and thus was allowed to retire. When we met her, she was one fierce, vicious-toothed killer that was on a short chain on the side of our friends' house -- they were renting that house from the family that owned Suzie (though I think it was their son who had, um, trained her)...
Anyway, that was her reward. A place in the shade on a short chain.
It didn't take me long to learn the exact length of Suzie's chain and to never wander too close when I came to visit my friends. My lord, she would come charging, full-bared teeth with terrorizing roar, and rebound backwards at the full-extension of her chain. From time to time, a hapless cat would meet its end wandering too close, they tell me.
From time to time, she came into heat. The owner's dog would impregnate her -- and when her litter was born, she would promptly eat each and every one of them.
She got ticks, fleas, worms. Our friends were compassionate to her, and spoke kindly to her. They fed her regularly and treated her maladies, but she never got off that chain. Although I kept my distance, Robert also befriended her...
Over time, despite the various treatments, it became clear this past month, that she was very ill. On the last full day of her life, she came slowly to the end of her chain, her short chopped tail wagging, and met the extended hands of all three of them -- Annie, Brian, and Robert. She received their gentle petting and kind words. I stood just a short distance away, with tears in my eyes -- she was acting like a normal dog, wagging her tail, licking their hands, receiving loving kindness. Yes, in the end, she knew love.
The next morning, she lay on her side in that piece of shade that was hers with the chain around her neck, eyes glazed, and breathing raggedly.... and then she was gone. God bless you, Suzie.
This morning, we stopped by the little dirt-floor restaurant of local friends -- part of our morning walk to the beach, as well. Their barely-two-year-old son was standing near a couple of hens with a few chicks running about. He was clearly quite upset. His gentle parents were calming him, and explaining to him.... the way of the world. Not long before, he had seen a hawk repeatedly swoop down from the sky, snatching up a chick each time.
SHARK IN THE WAVES!!!
Well, it sure routed the two of us -- the only boogie-boarders in the towering, crashing, rushing shore-waves. For quite some time, we'd been enjoying the circuit -- that of pushing our way through the surf to get out as far as we dared, navigating the deep trenches en route, and positioning ourselves to catch the return bouncing-plunging-ripsnorting boogie-ride back to shore. Then we saw it! Holy catfish, it was big. We could see its head peering over the top of a breaker just to the south of us.
Let us praise the powerful wave that caught our boards and projected us shoreward.
From there, we shielded our eyes against the sparkling glare of many suns on many facets of the sea -- and spied that dark form once again topping a breaker, but not coming over with the crash. Keep your eyes on it... watch it... Okay. Deep breath. Just a log.
But we were not being paranoid. Just a few days ago, on another surfer beach, there was a shark attack. A local fisherman there was pulling a fish out of his net under water, and a shark swooped up, and took both fish from his net, and his hand and arm, up to his elbow.
It is good to be wary.