The sun goes down here around 4:30 PM and it’s usually dark about an hour or so after that. If I had electricity here, other than a noisy generator in my motorhome, I’d still be reading, watching a movie, or doing something using that power source. My house batteries – two marine batteries – are old and in poor condition, and do not keep a charge for long. Therefore, in order to maintain enough power to keep the igniter for the refrigerator in gas mode working, I use lights and other electrical things as little as possible. We’re making a trip up to Yuma next week for two new batteries for me and one for Ruben, the caretaker here. In talking with him yesterday, I found out that he is also having the same kind of problems, but batteries here cost about twice as much as in the States. He offered to install mine since he’s very knowledgeable about things like that.
In the meantime, living according to when the sun rises and sets is an interesting experience. I’ve done it before when tent camping, but not for so long at a time. For one thing, I’m getting PLENTY of sleep, probably too much. I’ve always been an early riser, so it’s not a problem to get up in time to take a walk on the beach and watch the sun come up over the ocean. This morning I discovered where the large brown pelicans hang out early in the morning and watched them for a long time. I also saw at least two larger mammals in the water, perhaps small whales, but more likely dolphins. They swam very close to shore, among the pelicans.
The sunrise begins as a faint orange glow in the east, over the rocks, and that glow becomes brighter and brighter until the sun fully rises. It’s a time for walking slowly, for climbing on the rocks, for discovering new places, for seeking out more beautiful shells and small stones for my collection. Right now sunrise comes when the tide is still fairly high so there’s a limit to how far out I can explore. But, there’s still plenty to see.
There is a downside to living according to the sun, though. I don’t like to use the generator at night because it’s noisy and disturbs the silence here. I’m living by the ocean because the sound of the waves is peaceful, and I hate to add more noise. So, I usually get into bed shortly after sunset to read or work on the computer for a while. I have a battery-operated Coleman lantern and a flashlight, as well as a small inverter to provide power for the computer. So, no problem there. It’s easy to write up my daily impressions and take care of photos for my blog.
The problem lies with the equation that darkness = time to sleep. I’ve been going to sleep around 7:00 or so each night. That’s fine, except my body usually rebels a bit about 11:00, saying “you’ve had enough sleep. It’s time to wake up.” And I do, at least for a while. Tonight I got dressed and walked down to the beach. The strong wind of the past few days has finally abated a little, at least temporarily, and the stars were out in full display. Orion glowed clear and bright, as did the more reddish Mars. I sat on the sand down by the water and marveled at how lucky I am to be here in such a beautiful place.
However, that still leaves the problem of now being wide awake again. When I finish this reflection, I’ll most likely attempt to go back to sleep. That’s usually not a problem. I know people have lived their lives according to the rising and setting of the sun for thousands of years, and I believe it’s a perfect way to live. But, after a lifetime of living according to clocks and “expected” times for doing things, it’s taking a while to get used to this more natural way of measuring time.
I’ll eventually return to that way of life, at least for part of the year, to living by a clock and performing expected tasks at expected times. However, this much simpler life on the beach in Baja will always call to me. And I’m sure I’ll respond by returning again and again. Right now, I’m ready to go back to bed and look forward to seeing more life early in the morning.