Pattison on Wheels

Thursday, March 6, 2008

3-2-08: Daily Adrenalin Requirement

I took the camera and tripod down the beach at dawn in hopes of getting some photos of egrets but the weekend had brought too many tourists so I got images of a gorgeous sunrise, some vultures in a palm tree, the sunrise hitting the Sierra De La Giganta, and passed an the sunrise hitting a giant cruise ship going slowly into Loreto to the north.

I had a weird experience where I went to a restaurant in Puerto Escondido and sat down, telling the hostess that I would like some breakfast. She and another person went about doing a lot of chores, setting up tables, putting table cloths out, moving chairs around. Eventually I just got up and left not knowing what it was all about but not feeling good about it. I gave myself lectures on confrontation but went out anyway. Then I noticed that the plastic that covers the underside of the engine on my car was dragging on the ground. I’m beginning to feel worse.

I hiked up a canyon inland from Puerto Escondido. I tried to record some of the virtuoso mockingbird song but they would stop and leave just as I was tuning on the recorder. I was feeling more and more insecure. There was no one else in the canyon and I thought about what it would look like if I slipped off one of the giant boulders and couldn’t walk out. I got a look at a caracara and got a photo but forgot to adjust the camera for action shots so missed an opportunity. The climb was going OK though the problems were becoming more and more difficult. Finally I came to a place that was a bunch of 30 foot boulders jammed in the canyon and some smooth walls on either side. I tried several approaches and couldn’t scale the last 10 feet or so. I tried another approach and took it a little farther than I was comfortable before I realized that it was another dead end. I started to go back and got my holds crossed but kept trying until I was stuck with only one good hold with my right hand near my stomach so I was completely supported by my right arm extended downward. It was tiring to hold as I explored other foot and hand holds and none of them seemed trustworthy. My heart rate was going up from the exertion and I looked down to measure the consequence of losing it. It was about 20 feet down onto bare rock. Not good. I heard myself say: “Ouch!” I heard myself say a lot of things in a kind of rational calm voice that didn’t have any solutions at all. Suddenly I was moving using very questionable holds and quite surprised. This was completely unsupported by rational decision making but worked. I got down and even after a couple minutes my heart rate was way beyond what my doctor would recommend.

It was kind of miraculous actually. Who was running things in that moment? I took my time going back down the canyon stopping to meditate from time to time. I felt a lot better. I realized that none of my worries was that big a deal.

When I got back to the beautiful beach at David and Lura’s place they had some guests and were eating delicious goat cheese with fresh tomatoes that came from the Sunday farmer’s market along with home grown basil. They had steak and chicken on the grill.

More friends—three whale biologists arrived just as the meat was served and we had another feast. We chatted as the wind came up. The biologists were seeing whale spouts out in the channel and we were speculating on the variety. Possibly fin whales. When it got dark I got the computer out again and worked on photos into the night. The three biologists: Sergio (sayr-heeo,) Hiram (ee-rahm,) and Jotajota (Jay-jay) liked my photo of the grey whale barnacles.


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