Sunday, January 14, 2007


Our house is on a street called Las Golondrinas, "swallows" in English. You get to it via Los Flamingos. Streets you pass are Gaviotas (seagulls) and Pavo Real (bird of paradise). You get the idea. We live in birdland.

Last evening Larry and I went up to the first floor roof patio with a plate of nachos and watched the sunset. There we are on the same level as the top of the guayaba tree that grows directly behind our house -- a tree that at least twenty huge white egrets call home each night. We watch as singly and in pairs they wheel in from the sky, compact, air streamed packages that expand like umbrellas as they light in the upper branches, squawking and quarreling, settling in for the evening. Silhouetted in profile against a deep rose sky, they perch like giant question marks. Turning to face us, their necks disappear, the questions dissolve.

They are not the only birds in the sky. There are pelicans, frigates, gulls, and at least five others I don't know the names of. And spiralling in great whirls above us hundreds and hundreds of....SWALLOWS! Our friends are on their way back to Capistrano!

I'll beat them there. This Wednesday I head back to Orange County for six days. There are things I need to take care of, ends to tie up, things to sign, friends to give hugs to. When I return we'll start having guests. We'll welcome them here, to Casa San Juan. Can you believe it? That's the actual name that came with the house! And Father Serra, founder of Mission San Juan Capistrano, was sent on his journey from the monastery he called home -- just up the road from us in the state capital, Tepic.

Have I come home, or did I ever leave?

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