Thursday, 13 September 2007

A Third Person

It´s looking stormy outside, we´re going to have to eat in the kitchen tonight.
That is a challenge, what with an extra person here with all her bedding and worldly goods, and our great piles and boxes of books, and two dogs coming and going and sticking their noses in everything. It´s wonderfully shambolic.

I love having Libby here, even though moving around is not easy. We already put her Spanish skills to work on our bureaucratic obstacles -- she talked to a vet today about getting Tim microchipped and registered, and this afternoon she translated our legal complaint against the Bozo Co. into lovely Spanish. This afternoon, out on the patio, she read my palm for me...over the summer she made extra money at the Farmers Market by reading people´s palms! She is funny and bright and she is MY girl!

She brought nice stuff in her gigantic roller bag, including a box of Mac and Cheez, allergy pills, and a fridge magnet. It has a picture I swear is taken from my primary school reader, the one with Dick and Jane. The little girl is Sally. And she says:
"Mommy, when I grow up I want to help smash the white racist homophobic patriarchal bullshit paradigm, too!"

My children threw over all my attempts to instill faith in them, but it´s good to see they´ve kept hold of some of the values. And the wit! A third person can bring out all the snappy wit that goes kind of dormant when two people pretty much have just one another for company. Libby´s a delight. (I am aware I may feel differently by the time she leaves, at Christmas!)

Libby is going to walk the Camino de Santiago, starting from the French frontier the last week of September. Her mom and stepdad and little brother all have done it already, so she kinda had to, too. We walked our stretch of the camino last night, chatting about all the equipment she´s brought and what she can use of ours...we have tons of stuff, from our caminos and that´s been left here by passing pilgs. Libby has a knee that is dicey, and she broke her foot several years ago, she still smokes, and she is a big girl. I hope she makes it. If it´s just a matter of will, nothing can stand in her way. But physique is another thing entirely. It´s not always within our control.

Veremos. We shall see. Ryan was a 300-pounder when he arrived here in February, and when he headed home in August he was at least 50 pounds lighter! (That´s the lightweight version on the left, with his pants hanging off his bottom.) (Results not typical. Your experience may vary!)
It´s fun too to see Libby doing the very things Ryan did after he was here a day or so. She´s starting to read all kinds of things Camino-related, and plot where she might stop and stay and sites she oughtta visit. Including the Rabies Bridge in Zubiri, and the Cartuja de Miraflores, an amazingly plush Carthusian monastery full of sculpture by Gil de Siloe, commissioned by Queen Isabella... the same one who sent Columbus off to discover America. I think we might go back there this weekend. (it´s just outside of Burgos.) They are restoring the chapel there, and they have the sculptures down at floor-level, where you can really see them... a real treat! The picture at the top is one of the saints from the main altar, a wall of woodwork that´s so complicated and symmetrical it´s trippy.

Queen Isabella was from this neighborhood, and she spent a lot of time and money here. There´s a lonely spot called San Juan de Ortega up in the mountains just before Burgos. The original San Juan, a monk who built bridges and helped maintain the pilgrim pathway and beat back a local bandit infestation, founded a monastery and hostel in this ratty little town back in 1140 or so. He is buried in the church basement. Supposedly he was so holy his tomb dripped perfume for a while, and when someone opened the lid a couple hundred years later a swarm of bees came out. Someone decided these were the souls of unborn children, and since then the place has been a mecca for couples who want to have babies and haven´t.

One of these was Queen Isabella. And after she visited the saint´s tomb she Ta-Daa! conceived a son! (the story doesn´t end well, but hey...that´s another blog.) Anyway, Isabella had the whole place done-over in the popular Gothic style. The church is pretty nice, all restored these days with EU funds. The pilgrim hostel is a dump, overseen by a very old priest famous for making garlic soup, and his rather crotchety sister. Infertile people still go to the church, especially on the spring solstice. That´s when a sunbeam comes through the window just at noon and illuminates a capital carved with The Visitation -- the moment when the miraculously pregnant cousins Mary and Elizabeth met one another, embraced, and realized what they were dealing with. It is good to see women so honored, even if their claims to power were all based on their reproductive capacity. (more of that patricarchal bullshit paradigm, I guess.)

What this has to do with anything I am not sure. But with all the miraculous conceptions going on there, and the generally grubby and cold conditions in the refuge, I´m advising Libby to keep moving on to Ages, the next town down. There´s a couple of stories from there I could tell, too, but it´s time to move Libby´s mattress into the kitchen and put everyone to bed. No room for lat-night bloggers!

No comments: