Dec 3rd, 08:
As my train earlier passed frost covered ground and forested depths my thoughts briefly turned to the oncoming winter of the Rocky Mountains. The annual visits throughout my childhood in mountainous Montana and now in the rocky high desert of Colorado. I’ve grown to dread the marrow chill I often get long before I realize it, but find satisfaction in sharp and brisk inhales that crystallize on whiskers when released. In recent, and maybe not so recent years I have claimed a willingness to trade skis for sand. But, even at this moment, as I stare out at French snow powdered heights glazed in drab condensation, I sense within myself both dread and absolution. The burdensome belonging that singes the soul when stole. The changing mercury represents the wholeness that is heart and home. The rivers of the Colorado and Bitterroot are ever shifting and evolving, but their seasonal renewal from fresh snow remains forever constant. As the planet revolves in its yearly balancing of yin and yang it reveals the moral and prays that we embrace its story.
These images, and the faint spectrum stripe in the gray clouds of France, paint my mood as I disavow my affair with Spain. I have not been lead to this point by rational thought, rather a burning from greater depths. As I laid down to nap two days ago in the flat of a new Argentinean friend restlessness stirred in my gut. I had an hour before changed my departure from Alícante for an undetermined stay to pursue the possibilities of fulfilling promises to self. In my new connection with Rosa Maria I had establish a long time friend and within my two day of visiting I had established a tribe of transplants. The bulletin board at the local language school and murmurs of a yoga studio seeking help whispered in both of my ears. Por qué no? I guess I have found answers to that question. The threat of inner energetic rumblings as I lay there in crawling skin said it all. In what I hope was not an awkward liberation I continued on. It was a shift to return to the doubtless momentum I have already generated in a grand valley. I have paused to pursue planetary perspective and I will return in brighter light.
In Sevilla my room assignment at the Hostal Nuevo Suizo determined the fate of the rest of my time in Spain. Meeting my new Irish friend Gary was beyond coincidence. The simple bond of travelers was multiplied excrementally by our colon-less connection. There is an unexplainable bond between survivors of the same circumstances. A quote from The Poisonwood Bible (which has lent more worldly perspective to my travels) seems appropriate here. “Hunger of the body is altogether different from the shallow, daily hunger of the belly. Those who have known this kind of hunger cannot entirely love, ever again, those who have not.” There is at least a different level of love for those that have. His brief connection with Rosa in Australia years back brought the three of us together. And we soared, explored, laughed, and mapped a new reality. In addition I learned that when you mix mala leche and Guinness blood you get a Siamese twin, attached at the attitude, speaking in ridiculous accents. Luckily though, when it comes to America bashing, me la suda.
The streets of the Barrio de Santa Cruz in Sevilla are some of the most complex and mysterious I have ever experienced. If tiny cars dared to pass through them, you, as a pedestrian, had to evaluate the quickest route to the widest part of the passage to hug a wall. An offset building or a mere shift of 3 degrees in the street would be cause enough to change the name. The absolute lack of geometrical sense took different forms by day and night as if cast in a Scooby-Doo special. I shifted habitations to the center of it all to experience the quirky (and quiet) Pensión Vergara. The next morning, as if to reinforce our cosmic connection, I “bumped” into these friends two minutes after hitting the twisted and tiny streets. No need to call and set a rendezvous. Cadíz, departure point for Columbus’ 2nd and 4th voyages, brought us a daylong adventure highlighted by each other’s company amidst the memorable views from and of the Cathedral de Cadíz. I finally experience tapas worth writing home about (they tend to be hit and miss) and learned that the Africans selling pirated music on the streets apparently don’t know the difference between the Orishas and Abba.
Granada, as I’ve already alluded to, is where my growing love for Spain anchored. The Missoula-esque and culturally infused atmosphere pulled me in. The three of us voyaged via car to imbibe in the Alhambra, as intricate Islamic art and architecture by day, and a fine local cerveza by night. We chanced on the Davis Cup final, Spain vs. Argentina. It was a blast to watch Spain win the exciting match while in an Argentinean pub. Outside, even the street performers trying to nickel and dime the tourists would’ve been appalled by our favorite. While we overlooked the magical moment of marriage just above the Plaza Nueva a stumbling “musician,” with half a beer can wired to the end of his recorder, shrilled three notes he felt worthy of a tip. The humor in it (naturally, you had to be there) was worth a tip in itself. I’m afraid however if I did manage to plunk a Euro into his vessel it would’ve been imbalancing enough to put his wasted ass on his face, literally. After Rosa’s departure to her “real life” responsibilities Gary and I splurged in the Hammams de Al Andalus Bathhouse. The soak and massage later lured me in for a second round of rejuvenation before I hesitantly headed on to continue my adventure…