Monday, February 7, 2011

El Valle de los Cirios

I love nature, I love living in nature. We live in a mountain house, on a cliff, by the ocean. We are off the grid, we save water, we recycle, we compost, and I love it. It was not easy for me moving here from the BIG city, specially when it comes to social and cultural life. However, I have to say Baja California has always found a way to take my breath away, to make me stop for a minute to admire whatever magic is going on at the moment. I am grateful I have that for myself and  now  I can share it with my daughter. 

I also love traveling. I am an anthropologist and I'm fascinated to discover new horizons, systems, traditions, and all those little simple things that makes us all so different from each other. All those things inspire me, make me feel more in tuned with myself and bring deep words to my heart.

People like to travel to destinations that will bring pleasure to their senses. Some like going to the beach, others prefer to go shopping, or to museums. My father, for example, is a book collector, so he likes traveling to places where he knows he will find some treasures, places charged with history. His favorite vacation is to Barcelona (and he was not a big fan of LA until I brought him to the Huntington Library in Pasadena, where he can't wait to bring Adiel).

My favorite destination is the desert!! There is nothing like the warmth, profound and sweet silence of the desert! I crave it as I write about it... I have been around a little, and I have had the chance to be in some spectacular deserts like Atacama, in Chile, and Vadi Ram, in Jordan.

In the end of July 2009, Uri and I made a trip to the desert in Baja California (8 hours south from us). We went camping to a small beach with some friends. And that is where we think we made Adiel!

This is "El Valle de los Cirios"...

In English cirios are known as boojum trees, and they are endemic of the Baja California peninsula. In Spanish cirio also means candle, but the big candles, the kind you find in churches next to the altar. These trees got their name from their resemblance to those candles, having at their top (or tops) a yellow flower that smells like honey. They grow slow, but they can be as tall as 20 meters.

This is my favorite picture. You can see Uri standing at the bottom of the cirio.

The cactus there are massive, some rocks are huge... but just look again at the cirio. I think of them as delicate dancers, forever witnessing the slow pace of time, the silent development of life, surviving gracefully drop by drop, embracing the sun and its salty kiss. 

Some of them grow in crazy ways.

It was also very nice at the beach. Only fishermen live there, camping for a few days a week. Their main source of income comes from getting geoduck or elephant clam, in Spanish "almeja generosa". It is one ugly looking clam, but it is taaaaaasty! Uri went fishing with them one day.

I never prayed before as much as I pray since I became a mama. I pray for my Adiel every day, I thank God for having her, I bless her, I pray for her health, and I ask for her protection. But sometimes I go for a longer "wish list", hoping she will grow up to love nature, that she will find a beautiful way to communicate and inspire others, that she will have and take many opportunities to enlarge her horizon and become a respectful, responsible and empathic person that will do things to make the world a better place. All of that and more she could take from the place where, with the cirios as our witnesses, she was made... and I guess she is off to a good start, because she's already a delicate dancer that inspires me and makes my world a much better place! 

Until soon,


  1. Your pictures are GORGEOUS. I LOOOOVE reading what you write (although I have to come back later and read this better... I really should be at the gym now) and looking at your beautiful pictures that belong in magazines. Mercedes, I love learning about your life... We NEED a baja reunion. Like I said, I'm working on passport after birth cert. xoxo (my goodness, I just needed spell check to tell me that it's not passaport... was that considered Spanglish or just mommy brain??)

  2. And I think I am going to end up with some of your pictures in frames.

  3. jajaja, thank's Maggie... I wanted to do this post since before we started posting! And one of the goals was, of course, to pass the craving to you all, so you want to come and visit soon! I will happily give you any picture, and yes, you are totally Spanglishing there, jeje

  4. Mama,beautiful wishes you have for Adiel! Photos from the desert are lovely. I wanna share some Joshua Tree photos with you!
    Desert is beautiful, u have for it. I love nature and traveling too, mostly because it brings joy and excitement and connects me better to the earth,literally. :)
    I felt the love you have for the desert. I have passionate love for waterfalls... Well, but personally I always crave for green and blue and colors on the ground...Beige scares me in a weird way... I was freaking hiking out in the hot weather surrounded by sand, rocks and cactus..... I had to drink water every 2 minutes and browse photos of mountains to calm down, :D and ask Orde to tell me that it's not the end of the world!

  5. Love the way you capture this beautiful earth and heavenly light! I agree with Maggie, I would love to have your images framed on my wall- perhaps an Averbuch family gallery show is in order?? You, mama, are an inspiration (I've said it before I know) and while Saskia naps I should go with this motivation and post something myself!


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