The tricky thing about blogging is to find a way to write un-self consciously while keeping in mind that anyone might stumble upon your thoughts, so there is some need to protect others, and oneself. Given that, I will just state that today has been a Monday worse than most.
So, to escape, I went for a run at lunch time, and while running I listened to 2 podcasts from notesfromspain.com. Ben and Marina put together a number of podcasts while visiting various places around Spain. Ben is British but has lived in Spain for over 10 years now and Marina is from Spain and they met, married and now have a baby in Madrid. Today's podcasts were both done in the Alpujarras, south of Granada. The first was recorded in Lanjaron, the first village you come to when driving up into the Alpujarras. This village is known for its spring water and we drove through there in October on our way to Ferreirola. The second podcast was done outside of Orgiva at the home of Chris Stewart. Chris left England in the 1960s and settled on a farm outside of Orgiva. He has written several books about his experience - the best known is called Driving Over Lemons.
The 45 minutes or so that these podcasts lasted provided the mini-vacation that I needed. I had listened to them before going to Spain last fall but hearing them again, and being able to picture the places mentioned, allowed my mind to hear the water trickling from the springs, and through the irrigation troughs built over 500 years ago by the Moors - I could smell the damp moss and ferns that flourish around the springs, I could feel the hot sun pinning me against the barren hillsides and I could hear the goat bells echoing across the valley.
When we were in the Alpujarras it was the highpoint of our trip, and now, looking back, it provides one of my most soothing mental hide-aways. I hope we can return there someday. I dream of living there in one of the villages, among hundreds of other expats from England, Holland, Germany and probably the USA (although I don't think there are many Americans there.) Some of the white villages of the Alpujarras have stayed more Spanish than others and all retain the strong influence of the Moors who built the villages.
I really believe I could be content in those mountains, rarely needing to venture out. Everywhere is a feeling of ease, and peace, and slow, conscious living. I long for that environment and to be surrounded by people who wanted more from life and found it by having less.
Next time I will try to be a bit more present in case any readers think I am totally out of touch with my current reality.