Life in Contrast
by Alexis Bolton -- April 23rd, 2015
In our daily lives, we are surrounded by technology, with very few opportunities to truly disconnect. Even when we’re not behind a screen or on a call, we are so often still tied to our devices in anticipation of calls, emails and messages. Being plugged-in around the clock has become the norm for so many of us that it is easy to forget just how connected we are. That is, until you step away from it all, as we just have on our five day adventure to the island of Tiburón. No computers, no cell phones, no ringing, beeping or buzzing. The contrast between these two states – going from a completely digital world to an existence absent of electronics – enhances our appreciation, both of being connected and of going without.
On Tiburón Island, this was not the only way in which we experienced contrast. In fact, it was all around us. The dry sandy desert surrounded by endless seawater. The smoothness of the waves against the jagged rocky shoreline. The extreme temperature drop between the hot days and cold nights. The brightness of the stars against the black, moonless night sky.
The most vivid presentation of contrast we experienced was on the third day of our Tiburón stay. We ventured over to a part of the island known as Arroyo de la Cruz to hike through the desert in search of a watering hole. The chances of finding water in the midst of the Sonoran desert is, of course, extremely unlikely, so our hopes were not high setting out. Accompanying us on our voyage was Ben Wilder, a historical biogeographer and Sonoran desert expert and Guancho Becerra, our boat captain and lifelong resident of the region. We were also very fortunate to be joined by several people from the Comcaac, an indigenous group from the region with strong historical and sacred ties to the island of Tiburón – an elder, Manuelito Flores, and three sisters, Betsa, Myra, Balentina Torres.
After about an hour of hiking through the desert, we made our way to the top of a rocky crest, and, amazingly enough, there below us was the remnants of a creek with a small amount of water flowing. Ben explained that the heavy rains that occurred in the region six months ago must have left a lasting mark for there to still be water present and flowing, a great surprise for everyone and exciting to see. Equally as impressive was the tall, lush green vegetation that surrounded the creek bed, a rare sight, standing out amongst the mostly brown scrub we had seen so far.
Taking a break in the shade of these creekside bushes, Manuelito, Betsa, Myra and Balentina shared a few Comcaac songs with us, which are an important part of their culture and carry the oral history of the group. After singing, Manuelito stood up and said a few words about the Comcaac songs. He said that when he sings this particular song in the future, he will remember this moment, sitting in the shade with us at Arroyo de la Cruz. He also asked us to think of him when we hear the song again, his way of leaving a legacy that will live on with the song, and a powerful moment for us to have the opportunity to share in.