Monday, 9 March 2009

Mortified Wine

Time goes by, and I keep myself busy, but I am doing, apparently, nothing.

"Nothing" means working out our taxes, whilst waiting for all the right forms to arrive from America. It´s editing a UK Confraternity Guide to the Camino Portuguese, and chatting encouragingly at a US Marine who wants to write his memoirs. And a lonely Scotsman who is pondering his cradle Catholicism. And a guitar-maker who thinks America is doomed. I plant peas. All these things are important, but I am not paid for any of them, so in the great Capitalist mindset, they are Nothing. Worthless. A waste.

Lots of pondering going on out there. Maybe it´s a symptom of Spring, or maybe it´s all the Lenten reflection. I am doing some of that, too. Having given up all beverages but water, my thoughts turn often to the substances I use to prop up my ever-waning consciousness. We drink lots of wine here, probably too much. And coffee.

It´s the coffee I long for. The Spanish do wonderful things with coffee. I cannot really believe it could be bad for me. I know the moment I am finished with this fast I will brew myself up a big fat cuppa Joe and knock it right back!

Alcohol is another thing. Booze is an everyday event in these parts, where the bar is also the community center. Sit down at a café at lunchtime and the bottle of local red is plonked down with the glasses -- if you want water you have to ask. Stop in after the Saturday veg market downtown to chat with a neighbor, and a beer will appear next to your hand. Finish your dinner, and the bill will arrive with a "chupito" of liquor in a cute little glass. (Spanish men of a certain age are known to order a chupito with their morning coffee. It´s called "cafe con apellido;" "coffee with a surname.") Order a bag of seeds and some potting soil and some weedkiller and the farmer´s co-op guy throws in a bottle of aguardiente for free.

When I think back over my adult life, I conclude that I have drunk to excess. I´ve only half-enjoyed some good things because I was too bleary or beery to really take part. This is not good. And so, I suppose, this Lenten sacrifice is healthy, if I do indeed proceed to behave with moderation in the future.

Interesting how I only miss drinking when someone else is doing it. I do not think about wine or beer or other drinks until the scent comes to me... Paddy had a gin and tonic the other day at the Bar Deportivo, and wow did it smell wonderful! I picked up a glass of vino tinto this afternoon and took a sip, a reflexive action. It was thick and strong and delicious.

I put it right back down, though.

When I am not mortifying the flesh, I am plotting fun for the future. I found a $466 roundtrip airfare that will bring my Mom to visit me in May. In the middle of next week I will take the train to Leon, and start walking north along the Camino Salvador -- a medieval path through the mountains to Oviedo. It should take four or five days, and it should be plenty tough! I love to do a camino in springtime, before the big waves of pilgrims start washing up.

I´ve gotta get into some kind of shape, though. In the morning we´ll strap up Paddy´s ankle and take the dogs for a big long walk. And then we´ll start Spring Cleaning this place. It´s in a shocking state, what with dogs and cat and dust and soot everywhere, and laundry strung from the rafters, and pots of dirt on every surface.

A shambles. Chaos. Shabby and cluttered as anything worthwhile probably is. Time to get Mortified.


claire bangasser said...

Considering all the people who have made so much money and lost or lost other people's money, your doing beautiful things for no money will make your Peaceable Kingdom even more Peaceable and beautiful.
I have not really given up anything for Lent. Nothing. I was suggested to have a day of bread and water to live like the very poor and I have not had the stomach yet to do it.
I don't seem to have given up good or bad things for that matter - in the sense of 'bad habits.'
I am glad you will discover a Camino in the spring. I have promised myself to do a bit of the Camino in the fall to go over the one that turned out to be so hard last year.
Yes, your first coffee will taste so good!

Lil Sis Mart said...

Oh the spring cleaning - must do or have chip on shoulder- crap! I've never been a really good house cleaner and frankly don't give it much credence. I'm so happy to know that Mom will be visiting your wonderful country. Wish I could join her. Although, I will be visiting her June 21 - 30. We'll even be hitting the Scott Reunion. Something I feel is necessary for my children as well as myself. I want to see you there as well. I can only hope. In my eyes Beck you live a fairytale life. One I'd love to visit one day and take in the magic. I can certainly relate to the alcohol induced good times. I drink WAY TOO MUCH but see myself as far better off than I was during my "illegal" past. Enough. I love you! We all Do!

Anonymous said...

Moderation in all things my dear, INCLUDING MODERATION ! ! !


Amawalker said...

Am I pleased I'm not Catholic! I don't drink, I don't smoke, I'm a vegetarian - and I've been on a weight loss diet for 8 weeks. What on earth would I give up for Lent?
(No response required - I don't really want to know!)

Timothy said...

Heppner, Morrow County, Oregon - Irish place with big St. Patrick's Day celebration. It's right in the middle of Lent and giving some of our followers pause, will probably have a one day dispensation, like when it falls during the Super Bowl!

Anonymous said...

Mazoo said-
Bravo for you.This blog reminds me of of the very drunk man the police brought to the ER for a blood alcohol test. As I was drawing his blood he related since this was the finish of lent and his vow of no alcohol was over, he tied one on for Jesus. That seemed odd to me. Oh well, everyone to their own taste, like the girl that kissed the cow.

Johnnie Walker said...

Jeeez Rebekah. St Patrick's day isn't coming a moment too soon. :)

Mara said...

How are you doing in Moratinos?
I was the girl from holland which stayed in the summer with you:)

You really have a donkey now! that's soo cool!
How is the meseta? is it really green now?


Anonymous said...

You will love Oviedo. I walked south from the coast just to visit it and then took the bus back to the coast to continue to walk. All the bronze figures in the town have to be seen to be believed. A lovely place.
Buen camino,
Mary Virtue