In our village in Loreto, we’ve been walking on dirt paths for several years, hoping, haggling, and mostly practicing patience. Each time I leave my door, I’ve imagined walking on stones. But every day I return home to rinse my dusty feet.
Now, outside my door is a crew of twenty men assembling cobblestone pathways. From piles of locally sourced hewn stone, they hand select each stone for its shape and color, and place it carefully into the patchwork. They don’t understand my interest in watching them work and taking photos of their progress. I tell them what they’re doing is a work of art, una obra de arte. I am amazed at the artisanry, the assemblage of plain old ordinary rocks into charming, meandering walkways.
We are a small expat community in Baja that managed to build our homes in the face of doubt, adversity, and economic and emotional angst. Against all odds, we banded together and invented what we called a ‘global solution’ (how audacious of us!) to contract our 200 homes to be built in this isolated pueblo. In the best of circumstances, we knew it would take time. On some level we knew it would stretch our basic belief in time. We just didn’t know how much. Author Kobi Yamada said, “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” And we have certainly built a variety and abundance of wings in this community!
Our leap? On a wing and a prayer, we all poured resources into completing our homes in a remarkable setting between the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range and the Sea of Cortes; colorful homes that sit in the dust of an arid desert, surrounded by a few grey shells whose owners abandoned their dream somewhere along the way.
For those of us who have chosen to spend parts of our year here, there is plenty to learn—about living in community, about letting go of high expectations, about relaxing our standards. About appreciating the basics and ‘going with the flow’ and the majesty of la madre naturaleza (mother nature).
At times the wind blows so forcefully, it looks as if someone has dumped buckets of sand on the terrace. Some of us sweep and dust our homes fastidiously; others just step over the piles of dust. But all of us, no matter our perspective, are excited about this assemblage of stone pathways. What they symbolize is the amazing story that my neighbors and I will continue to tell: that a small group of people has the capacity to dream, find their way through the challenges, and move forward.