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The Call of the Wind
An aroma of salt, sand, and a deliciously warm breeze gave her a sense of serenity. A reflected wisp of cooked canned beans, sizzling sausages, and distant chatter flowed through her mind, soul, and body. Echoes of childish laughter, reverberating in the wind, called to her, yet she could not reach into the reverie of the past.
Sara Soto gazed outside, at the world she explored as a child, the place she used to come to every new year, the six-hour drive far-off beach she had not seen for twenty years.
Bahia Santa Maria the oasis of childhood dreams. Twenty years ago, this had been the escape, the adventure, and the annual holiday pastime for Sara and her family.
She could remember the joy of traveling in the old Chevy suburban, and the days of preparation beforehand. She could see her father, strong and quietly passionate, lifting the two reluctant German Shepard dogs into the backseat where all the luggage was piled. Sara and her siblings would clamber to squeeze into the backseat in front of their now restless pets and behind the tired parents. Sara and the others were oblivious to their parents’ exhaustion, and only thought of what laid ahead: Mexico.
Sara smiled to herself as she swung gently on her orange-and-black hammock swing. Mexico is a much larger country than what she used to visualize. Only the thin strip of land connecting to the rest of the massive land, called Baja California, was familiar to her young eyes. But did that matter? No, only this beloved beach, where the imagination developed far more than in her city life.
For the past half-hour, Sara had sat here, on the back porch of her adobe brick house – the last of the line of similar houses lining the beach – to watch the sunrise. Yesterday afternoon she had returned to her second home, like a lost soul crawling back to its safe haven. She had kicked off her shoes the moment she stepped out of the car, flew to the backside of the house, and ran about like a carefree child, wiggling her toes in the warm, friendly sands of Bahia Santa Maria. Her old shell collection, forgotten coloring books, unfinished crafting kits, and untouched pots and pans were all still there, tucked neatly in their little cupboards and shelves. The huge palapa remained standing as the center withstanding of the round house.
Gramma Rosie’s old dripping candle sat on the table, the old record player and Mexican music records, the usual handy tools of the house, and her kites were all there too. Now they belonged to Sara. She sighed and leaned back on her hammock, wishing she didn’t have to remind herself. Gramma Rosie had passed away two years ago, leaving her property to her children to decide amongst themselves who would get their share of “the booty.” Luckily, there were no real problems, considering that Gramma Rosie gave specific directions to where things ought to go. Sara’s mother, Emily Johnson, was given the “foreign rights” – the house and the passports – and allowed most of it to herself and her husband William, until her youngest daughter mentioned how much she longed to return to Mexico.
And then, as Sara’s bosom friend puts it, presto She had inherited Gramma Rosie’s green painted Mexican residence. Of course, it wasn’t for another two weeks that Sara had a chance to pack up and drive down to Bahia Santa Maria. She was young for a thirty-six year old married woman and mother of four children; for during the entire trip, she was chatting as amiably as her excited offspring.
Sara chuckled to herself, stifling a yawn as she did so. Why James puts up with my childish behavior, I’ll never know, she thought to herself, with a glance back at the open bedroom door. A loud snore was the response to her curious notion. Smirking slightly, and feeling very much like the silly sixteen year-old girl she was last time she was here, Sara watched for the coming of dawn. Away from her job as a tireless mother and loving wife, it was a huge relief to relax by herself, with no nagging children and no questioning husband at the moment. Only the wind, that same versatile breeze, was her company. The wind was a friend now, for there was no reason for her to be bothered at this time as she would have been among other people. They are often frustrated with the wind, as it blows about them in an uncomfortable way; but Sara understood this inconspicuous component of life. This element of the earth remains the sole keepsake of secrets; fire does not hold on, it only burns and eliminates memories; water drowns and deforms, and drags down dreams for no one to find again; and earth remains solidly realistic and only accepts events and facts to etch in its book. The air, however, has been the world’s secret keeper since the time it was created. Ancient legends, forgotten true but still existing, fly about with the relentless wind, remembering forever. Fire forgets and destroys all, water pollutes and drowns, earth sketches natural events, but air remembers all.
The call of the wind, Sara thought to herself, smiling at her childish nickname for her invisible companion. It alone can call to her like a spirit, allow her to share her secrets without being betrayed, and flood her soul with serenity and confidence. Ever since she could walk without any parental assistance, Sara spent much of her time outside, whispering quietly to the wind. That resulted in her mother believing she had an imaginary friend, because every time she was queried of whom she was conversing with, the answer was always “Windy.” Sara soon out grew talking to her special companion, and practiced merely listening and thinking with the wind. She used to believe that the wind was what made her wonder about things. Somehow, Mexico was the one thing that called to her above all else; in fact, anyplace close to her heart called to Sara through the ever knowing wind. And, almost always, she would honor the call of her dear, mysterious friend.
The wind awakened Sara’s recollection box, releasing the buried treasures of Mexico: the tears that were shed, the laughter that was erupted, the dreams that were hatched, the arguments that were debated over, the stories that were shared and experienced, the adventures that were imagined, and the memories that were remembered.
Games of adventure were developed and created by Sara and her rambunctious cousins. Sara smiled a little sadly now; those times were so close now that she was back, but still so far. . .
The gentle morning breeze swooped down, a graceful airborne ballerina, upon its dozing friend, ruffled her hair, then frolicked in the sand. As more sand kicked up into a miniature whirlwind, the wind grew bored and began its usual twirl across the slumbering beach; it tickled the fur of sleepy jackrabbits cowering in their burrows amongst the dunes, teased the irritable crab scuttling around its muddy home, blew into open doorways, half-awakening its residents, howled at the roar of the surf, and returned to its singular human companion. Murmurous and stealthy secrets passed through her ears, caressing her sleeping brain. Sara moaned in her sleep, and dreamed of her cousin, Brian, and she, running straight across the hot sand to reach the water, racing until their feet were splashing in the icy sea, shrieking with laughter, having so much fun . . . how she longed to return there . . .
Suddenly, Sara gasped and snapped out of her sleep abruptly; what seemed like a moment ago, on the strip of water the first signs of the dawn began to pierce the penetrating darkness. Now the sun was completely out, which meant ....
“Mom Mommy Jacob stole my dolly, and he won’t give it back ”
Sara sighed, stood up, looked through the open door, and shouted back, “Jake Give it back to her at once, young man ” Knowing that wouldn’t be enough, she reluctantly started to go back inside. But before she left her air castle, she turned back to the wind playing in the palm trees a few yards away. Mysterious whispers of the past called to her, and she heard the echo of a child laughing.
“I know I can’t stay a child forever,” she whispered softly, voicing the long-lost waif within her soul, “but I don’t think I will be able to resist remaining young just to keep you.”
We will always be with you, the wind whispered, it’s just you have a job to do now.
Smiling, she turned her back on the wind, and walked inside to her whining daughter and protesting son.
Now, it was their turn to add on to the wind’s memory book, here on the western shore of the Sea of Cortez. They will now answer the call of the wind.