George (Osprey) Bergin – Author / Storyteller
Prolific author / storyteller who entertained so many of us over the years with his creative writings... View more
Prolific author / storyteller who entertained so many of us over the years with his creative writings before passing in 2018 at his home in La Ribera
Are you sure you want to leave ?
When I saw it, realized what had got me, what was causing me such incredible pain, I could not believe my eyes. The plant, called mala mujer, Bad Woman, would look at home in the garden or on the patio. My calf barely brushed it as I walked through the desert near my home. Mala mujer. Perhaps this whole place should carry such a warning label. A warning and a new name. Maybe this part of Mexico could be called mujer misteriosa, Mysterious Woman; a thing that has indescribable beauty while sometimes meting out profound pain and heartbreak.
I have a sense of the place that embraces not just the spiky land but both seas, the sky above, the immeasurable history. A cruel place indeed for early travelers ? their boats dashed and ruined on the rocky reefs and shores, their feet cut and bleeding from the crippling scrapes and gouges of dagger plants and nettles. No Cibola here ? they would gladly settle for a wet tinaja.
A woman. They might have seen her as a woman. Her moods, her give and take, are not subtle. Modern day visitors need time to learn her moods. They are lulled into false security, feel less threatened than the adventurers, the settlers and explorers. A rogue wave snatched a family of these new tenderfoots from the beach, a few yards from the sybarite?s pleasure palace on the shore. Killed them all. Yesterday.
She is often rough and dismissive with fawning, moonstruck pilgrims as they run north before the chafing winds of misadventure with empty purses and infected bowels. Many suitors will not be put off. Broken axles and bleeding hearts lie in the dust as testimony to their unrequited fidelity. She killed all the Indians, the ones with the darkest skin. They found the place full of food they could not gather. Once they were isolated, the end came quickly for these early ones.
La Mujer still holds the power to heal, to change, to embrace. She mellows with age. Now she lets the dark skinned ones live – she makes them work like dogs. She allows me some latitude; I know many of her secrets and I can avoid her nags and nettles because I am no longer fooled by deceptive hues and shapes and textures. I just have to remind myself that in Baja California nothing is what it appears to be.
When they talk about my end, how she took me down, I hope they?ll say, by whatever name they may give her, she let me go quietly into the night; full of her beauty and passion, sated, at peace, knowing I had wooed her, held her if only for a very short while. They will say of me that my fate was sealed when she showed me that irresistible sweet spot between serenity and danger.
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