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Friday, December 30, 2016

The Imprecise Journey

This was written one month before leaving the U.S. (November 2016)

This is the hardest part. Right here, right now. Right here, in the compact dust of my hometown, where I've been twiddling my thumbs and fighting off the travel itch for 3 years since leaving the Bay Area. Where I've been laying low, not joining clubs, not over extending, not molding too many friendships, not beginning new hobbies, not buying new art supplies, not welding together old habits with new ideals, not screaming so loudly, not always wearing Glitter, not faking enthusiasm, not accepting less than what I need in almost every moment to be happy, not over-eating, not under-being, just really being, really just being.
The desert has sewn me back together.

But, I've got to go now.  

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with One Step

There have been 2 aha moments since being here. The first, while strolling down the promenade that trailed behind the Arc du Triomph in the center of Barcelona. I was walking, simply walking, and taking in all that was around. It was my second day in Spain. The journey from the United States to Spain had been nearly 24 hours, furiously flying, much moving. Finally settled in Barcelona, ​​this day was warm, grounding, but exhilarating at the same time. On all sides of me there was action, varying degrees of cuteness, and beauty, and picturesque-wow-they-actually of these things in Europe-type of activities. There were old folks kissing their grandchildren, young folks doing acro-yoga, singing, playing guitar, sunbathing. There were open air markets selling toasty, crusty brown breads, dark chocolates, homemade jams, and wine, oh wine, wine, wine. There were street performers making life-sized bubbles, playing tiny violins, performing their puppetshows. I was surrounded by surrealism, European daily life and I actually felt as if in a dream ...

I've been planning this backpacking trip to Spain for 4 years, and to be here, finally, amidst the real people and real smells and real laid back vibe of all of it. I could not speak. Anything more than "Oh, it's happening now". That was the first. 

The second was two days ago. Between Barcelona and now, Miguel and I have trekked through a couple cities. We've stayed on a farm for two weeks, learning to grow lettuces, build greenhouses, and eat our meals patiently with wine and freshly picked vegetables. 
There, in Gava, on the farm, We had the pleasure of getting to know the  Spanish version of Kramer. A real sweet heart with a million and one projects to complete, fueled by dark chocolate and the purest passion for organic farming. We spent many hours caring for burgeoning plants, crumbling walls, and a giant bear of a dog named FlyBoy. And from there we took a 9 hour car ride to Granada, where we spent the next 5 days covering the city up and down by foot. I would have lost 5 pounds if I was not supplementing every afternoon with wine and cheese :)

In Granada we had the opportunity to see Flamenco performers, in a little cave-like dwelling, off the side of an ancient street that hugged the cold, trickling stream. The performers were raw. The guitar player had an injured hand but was still compelling. The singer with a kind face and tight black clothes, crooned his way through the evening. The dancer, though ... fiery, furrowed brows, voluptuous, strong.                                                                    She wanted to slap us in the face then kiss it all over.     

Granada is so rich. It's a sensory sampler platter of Arabic and Spanish ways. Antique and stern, yet Exploding with Color and Character. The homes in and of themselves are are masterful pieces of aging architecture, especially foreign to us Americans, whose concept of old is 300 years. There we were standing across a literal castle, only separated from it by the city sunken into a blue lit valley,  smiling at the beauty of this country's known history and this country's adoring relationship to it.

Now we're far from the city, in a secret splattering of white-washed casitas stacked upon one another. We've moved on to a new adventure with two Dutch artists who have made their home in the hills of Competa. A winding drive from the coast, it is a heaven above heaven. At night I see the fog sneaking up and around our small wooden cottage, and in the morning I awake to sweet orange light, pure from the mountain air, and quiet. So quiet. I'll be here for a while, helping Loewke and Ben with their gallery in town, and taking long walks in the country, gathering wild rosemary and wild memories ...
So the second aha moment was here when I woke up on our first morning in the hidden hills. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, preparing a pot of tea, opening the curtains that cover the glass of the front door ... and I see this ...