July 2008

Mike Wallace

HIS HAPPY PLACE -- Mike Wallace of Superstition Search & Rescue returns after eight years to his "happy place" -- Jose's Estuary, just south of Rocky Point, Mexico.

Happy Places

‘Jose’s Estuary’ Still On His Mind

By Mike Wallace

Superstition Search & Rescue

 I often go to one of many happy places in my mind, back to when I was a child lying on a sandy sleeping bag, staring at the overwhelming eternity of stars. 

The therapeutic sound of the surf relaxed my tired body; the ocean breeze cooled my sunburn.  Excitement for a while would rob me of sleep, thoughts, anticipation, and plans for the morrow were played out vividly in my young mind. 

But, ultimately, weariness from the battles fought this day would fade me from reality to dreams — dreams of tidal blue water, schools of bait fish, and leg-long sea trout. A happy place indeed!

As this young man, I remember my dad would load up our blue and white VW van till the tires pointed outward.  Our family would sit, shoulder to shoulder, fitting into the spaces left over. 

Grey taped, tied, and wired was every implement of fun imaginable.  Protruding from window openings were portions of foam boogie boards and fishing poles.

This was our transport, our limo of fun to our Mexico adventure, to a place called Jose’s Estuary just south of Rocky Point.

Jose passed away many years ago and was laid to rest in the estuary he loved so much. His gravestone is still washed and embraced by the waters of high tide. 

The estuary presently is on a path of overgrowth with the jungles of tourism and Americanism and is no longer known as Jose’s. 

Some of the enchantment has been taken from this place — but not all.  The tide still empties the estuary as if to restock the blue water with balls of bait and fish to be caught. 

The birds still land on the shell-spattered white sand, waiting wisely for the coming event.  The water still moves outward, slows, then pauses, announcing its intensions to consume the emptiness of the estuary, and large sea trout still foam the surface, thrashing on the set and fight as hard as they once did in my memories and in my dreams.  

I have spent a lifetime enjoying this little paradise of fish heaven. Although life’s responsibilities have kept me from this place for eight years, it was fun to go home to my child hood once again — a very happy place to be. 

I will spend the next 20 years cleaning the sand from the carpet of my 4x4, and the smell of minnows may never leave the upholstery.  Both are small tokens to remind me time and time again to be grateful for the happy places in my life.