Rocks from the sea, balanced on each other at sometimes inconceivable angles.
We have seen them before, in remote places where travelers and seekers have left offerings to the coast or to the gods of wanderlust.
And here we find totems, scattered along the shore.
But there is a difference. Here the spirit is not the same.
While others I have seen hold a sacred quality, built under sacred circumstances, as amazing as these may look, they hold sadness and a feeling of desperation for me.
You see, they were not built by pilgrims. They were built by a man and his wife who live here. Not because of any holy endeavor, but in a desperate bid to make a living.
I stood and watched as this old Mexican caballero demonstrated his ability to balance one stone on another. He did it with the pomp of an entertainer and somehow it lost all its magical charm.
He had been balancing rocks for twenty years he said. In truth, it wasn't amazing. Not at all.
He held his cigarette in his lips as he took a stone off the top of a tower, tossed it from one hand to another and deftly showed me how he could return it to its original place.
He faltered several times and I waited patiently, not so much because I cared about seeing the balancing, but because I saw his daily struggle to live and I desired to honor it.
His wife sputtered at me in Spanish, concerned I might just walk by after the well rehearsed show without leaving the dollar fee for the ticket. She was beautiful. Her face was pained and her body darkened from a lifetime spent in the sun. I would have given her much more than the suggested dollar if I'd had it on me. But that day, my own pockets were disturbingly light.
We as travelers look for authentic experiences. We pass by performers looking for a tip in search of something more real. But I challenge you to see this couple. Imagine where they might live, the condition of their home, what they eat for dinner at night.
It couldn't be more real....
With a full heart,