Sunday, 6 July 2008

International Harvest

...And finally, again, I return to my home and try to figure out where, between Detroit and Madrid, I left my brain.

My first meal back was a nice fat trout! Powerful thing, blogs. They make my wishes come true if I wait a little while.

On the face of it, not a lot has changed in Moratinos or at The Peaceable. The weeds are thicker and some are blooming. The harvest is in full swing now, with huge machines moaning over and back across each field, over and back, leaving behind them great swaths of straw. What a couple of weeks ago were silver-green flags have since turned into the famous Amber Waves of Grain. And now, with the nap cut short, they´re bolts of brown corduroy. The threshing floor is heaped with hills of grain, lots more than last year, but of lesser quality, I am told. (Farmers are never happy, you know.)

Once the grain is harvested and the straw cut and baled, we enter the two or three months of Brown, when the summer sun bakes the fields and dirt to a uniform golden dust, and the farmers go off to the beach to bake themselves pink. The next crop starts greening the ground in October, and the fields change from one green to the next through the next nine months. This is a true contrast to my homeland, where July, August and September are the wildest, most lush green ever imagined. Still, I will trade three months of brown and nine months of green for north America´s six months of green and six months of gray slushy drizzle.

The dogs had their usual hysteria when I arrived, both of them leaping and yodeling and clawing up my pantlegs with outrageous joy. I´ll admit I looked forward to that. It´s so easy to like someone who likes you, and these guys are so OBVIOUS!

And yes, I said "both of them." We are back to two dogs. On July 2, the Belgians returned from Santiago with their little Jack Russell terrier, having decided to not take Mimi home with them. But Mimi immediately turned on the charm, showed off all the dog tricks Una taught her (sit, shake hands, lie down, speak) and made a spectacle of being submissive to their terrier dog. And so by now she is chewing the legs off the furniture in a fashionable flat in Brussels. I wish her well. Two dogs is a lot, but three? OMG.

Still, the DogGods (not to be confused with Doggones, goddams or DadGums) insist otherwise. This morning, on the way to Mass, up the street where the Julis live, we saw a little black ghost of a puppy with huge stand-up ears. Edu told us it´s hanging around the highway bridge, coming down into town looking for scraps. No one wants it, it is too afraid to let anyone come near. It´ll go away in a day or two, Edu said, from hunger or from blunt force auto.

So of course we took a couple of handfuls of dog food out to the highway bridge after church and left it there. Ain´t humane, otherwise.

// break to bring in a pilgrim, a "spiritual Christ" from Germany named Rainer, who is sleeping in the blue room tonight. He was sent here by Jesus Buzarra, my Spanish hospitalero friend who is now hosting folks somewhere outside Burgos. He´s telling the good ones to stop here. Which I think is good. If someone named Jesus is sending strangers to your door, do you say no? //

The big spruce tree in the patio is heaving with sparrows, all of them with something important to say. A cool breeze is blowing, and the sunset makes the light go to a strange mackerel-pink shade. Paddy´s started giving fresh water to the birds each morning, from a pot placed up atop the wall next to the well. It is lovely to see the doves up there, they are so much like animated line drawings. The only jarring note is Paddy´s choice of water vessel. I have to wonder what the neighbors will think when they notice our chamber pot up there.

Paddy is very well. He is brown as a berry and smiling, made jolly by the load of fresh books and magazines brought from America. Today he wore a new pair of jeans to church, after wondering if they were too shockingly bright and clean! His son Matthew visited here during my absence, and the pair of them got busy working on the plants in the patio. I knew that eventually someone knowledgeable would come along to advise on this all-important matter, and evidently Matt is a wiz with the clippers. We still have lots to do with the wildly growing ground-cover, but at least we now know what should maybe stay and what should go. He did good. The roses are blooming like mad, and you can SEE them now! I am sad to have missed Matt, who is a real mensch, but I´m glad Paddy got some good face-time with his middle boy.

Here are some photos of people and things taken while I was still at home in America. Good faces all. Most of them are related to me... can you see any resemblance?


Deirdre said...

Welcome back to Spain, Rebekah! I noticed you said, ¨home in America¨. A slip? Or, home is where one is? I still have your vanilla in my mochila.... andam hoping to deliver it... and to visit. Great pics! said...

Home is home is home.

After this trip, I must say I feel much more "at home" in Moratinos! (Now if I could just finish unpacking and putting everything away)

Elizabeth said...

Everything looks so green in those pictures. I especially like the one of Ryan with the squirrel shooting the other squirrel on his shirt. I also like the close-up of Sage in front of my 80s anarchist, video-game inspired, t-shirt. I especially like the face that that is the first picture people see after you ask if anyone notices a resemblance to you in the pictures. I like this whole post. Wow.

PL said...

The Fountain Inn Best Western bar? Lived in Denver my whole life and never heard of it. Where, pray tell, was/is it?

- Nev said...

Jeez, Nev. I was maybe 5 years old then...lived on Ironton Street in Aurora, a tidy working-class suburb then which I understand is now a very dangerous Crips territory. The Best Western was miles and miles away, to my tiny-child´s mind. God only knows what´s become of its Glorious Red Velvet bar banquettes.