On a walk beyond borders I observed wonders unknown.
Along the path were feather-shaped leaves that had fallen beneath the tall, smooth trees: memoirs of mythical birds traveling past from mythical lands.
Sprinkled about were tiny, glittering transparent flecks: Star flakes, fossilized bubbles, mermaid scales, or faerie skin.
Loyally beside the trail lived a stream long asleep. Further along – past stretches of light, past canopies of shadow, past a moss covered sanctuary carpeted with thick fern – the stream awakened into a thunderous waterfall.
The place of death, the place of life; silent and musical; tranquil and playful; constant and ever-changing, home of deepest sadness and highest joy.
I heard music composed of sweetest notes. An ageless song played by massive creaking trees; Birds sing an expressive, lyricless melody; Cascading water leads the crescendo.
Long beams of golden sun glint off of blue flitting dragonflies and lazily floating butterflies of every color and pattern.
The smell of cold, wet dirt; of countless sweet flowers: the smell of the earth seeps in through the skin.
Here life is discovered.
There are so many things I long to write about. Things that inspire explosions of poetic thoughts and surging wonder. But, as I have found before, some things are simply indescribable. Some things exist in a wordless dimension. I wonder if memory can capture the splendor? How can I describe the height of the smooth-barked trees against a blue-blue sky? Or the old farmers all dressed in black going about their work with ease, though technically they should be considered far past retirement age? How can I explain how humorous the Pritchards are when they return home at night, as they walk in their door “PSH–PSH–PCKYOW”ing to keep Friday inside? How could I describe the silent antiquity of the river with its stone steps and its cold, clear water? How can I explain the wondrous rain that falls more like snowflakes than raindrops? How could I bring anyone to understand how the old stone buildings in all of their decay: with roofs caving in and flowers growing from the cracks, fill me with speechless awe? Can I get across the absolute comfort with which I am filled at the sight of the windmills? Can words describe the violent wind on the mountains as I gaze at aqua colored oceans? Would anyone be able to feel God as I do, when I sit on my windowsill, admiring the mountains topped with windmills silhouetted against a yellow-to-blue sky, spattered with luminescent pink and purple clouds? As I watch all of this fade into absolute black offset by tiny specks of glowing white? Do any of these words cause marvel to equal the original sight, smell, sound, feel, emotion, the actual experience?
Halfway through my stay, my wonderful, adorable parents came to visit. It was their first time leaving the country!
By the time they arrived I had perfected my coffee making skills. They seemed impressed. I’m not sure if that was because it was a well made cup of coffee, or if it was because they had to because they are [nice] parents.
During my time in Spain there were several trips to Santiago de Compostela, the largest nearby city. It remains one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen. In fact, the northwest of Spain is one of the most gorgeous places I’ve been.
Situated among the old buildings, adjacent to the cathedral, the medieval faire was much more authentic than the one in Florida. It smelled of cheeses, bread, flowers, and strong incense. There were all sorts of things for sale, so much that it was rather overwhelming. We did not stay for a long time, but I am glad we were able to go.
Back before I was a college dropout, it was required for me to complete three internships “before graduating”. For my first one, I was sort of in gear to go to Alaska. That didn’t work out, and instead, all of the sudden the opportunity to go to Spain and work at a bed & breakfast arose. It was a ‘friend of a friend’ sort of deal. The specifics didn’t take long to sort, and it all started happening only two weeks after I heard about it. The times in my life where I’ve actually done interesting things have come together really quickly.
This was my first solo traveling experience. The airport security folks were kind enough to let my mom through to sit with me at the gate. We spent two hours sitting together, and then I was gone. Off to an airport in a strange part of my own country, followed by an airport in a strange other country, and then released into a foreign land as a small, curious, insignificant foreigner. Spain would be thoroughly unaffected by my three month presence there, considering my very little interaction with the greater part of its occupants. But I would be greatly changed by my experience living outside of my own country. Outside of my known world.
Hotel Rústico Santa Eulalia, Mazaricos, Spain.
The bed and breakfast where I spent very long days learning Spanish mostly from a six-year-old, washing endless dishes, baking breads and biscuits (aka cookies) and pies and so on, changing bed linens once and again, reading twelve or so books, watching Spanish-dubbed American movies, painstakingly reading Spanish magazines alongside an old Spanish-to-English dictionary, and a hundred other little things.
I spent the wee-est hours of the night at my host’s house. I had my own room, but my time spent there was minimal. On days off here and there I would walk down the road to a beautiful creek, sharpen my pool skills with John Paul, care for the garden we planted, or just sit on my windowsill and gaze at the windmills perched upon the surrounding mountains.