While we were away it rained, but too late to save this year´s oats. They´re stubby, Estebanito said. The stalks should´ve grown knee-high and stayed green right into July, but the weather went hot and dry.
Way too soon, the fields shifted from green to gold. Now the farmers must harvest what they can. The khaki dust of August and September will probably coat a good percent of July this year as well. Disaster.
But there´s joy in Moratinos anyhow. Pin is back at work at the trucking company. Mad Fran is back, too, meeting hapless pilgrims at the edge of town and nonsensically singing them through the plaza.
And they come, come, come, the pilgrims -- hand in hand, or alone, or gathered together in bands. They stop out by the cemetery and snap photos of the bodega hill. They explore the bodega doorways, rattle the doors, make more photos. Some relieve themselves in the tall grass, or deep in the cool dark of the abandoned and collapsed caves. Their shit is everywhere these days, along with folded squares of toilet paper they so carefully use to cleanse themselves.
We have not seen so many pilgrims at The Peaceable in the last few days. Since we made it home on Tuesday we have holed-up at home, ignoring all the blandishments of Sahagún in full fiesta mode, and the faithful of Carrion de los Condes laying down great carpets of flower petals in the streets for Corpus Christi. Missed it, missed it all.
We left only to take Una to veterinarian, and Kim to the train station to say goodbye. We bought some vegetables. We came home and closed the gate behind us. Just me and Paddy and the animals.
We have not been alone together in our house since mid-March.
We must do all our own housework now. This morning I swept the floors for the first time in far too long. The clutter is already setting in. Kim´s shimmering butler skills have spoiled us in a grand way, and now we must return to our usual level of grubby mayhem.
Today I cooked. I baked and roasted, braised and boiled.
Paddy sat out in the yard with the hens. He basked. They scratched and plucked and cackled and chirred. (Blodwyn, having lived for a week on a cocktail of antibiotics and garlicky grain, is now returned to health. Hallelujah!)
We pulled up chairs beneath the patio umbrella and split up between us a backlog of New Yorker magazines. We spent the afternoon luxuriating in American prose style.
And that is all we have done. It is all we are doing.
It is not quiet, though.
From Sahagun comes the boom of rockets and fireworks -- 9 kilometers distant, but still enough to send Una hobbling into the darkest corner she can find. The neighbors next door have invited guests for the weekend, so we share their flamenco-pop music, their motorbike roars, and the mouthwatering aroma of meat on their charcoal grill.
And high in the big cedar tree in the patio, the late-night bird chorus sends up a terrific racket. (If I was a better techie I´d capture it with this wizzo computer and post a .wav file. But I don´t know how, alas!)
A week ago right now we were at an art opening in the south of France, hobnobbing with the Beautiful and Best. It seems so long ago, and very far away.
Today we are happy, alone together in our scruffy little kingdom of peace. It´s better this way.