All still is somewhat in ordnung, except for a profound disquiet way down at the base of everything. Maybe something like was felt in Tokyo, while the earth shifted hugely only a hundred or so miles north. Maybe the great city felt the earth moving, literally. Or maybe it was the great lifting upward of so many souls, so suddenly lifted together out of their ordinary lives and daily bodies. Tokyo had to feel something.
A disturbance in the Force, perhaps. A stirring in the Wine-Dark Sea, as Homer would have put it.
Here, all is quiet. I can almost hear the bulbs and peas and seeds in the earth, pushing softly up at the dung and dark to where warm and light are. The past week was quiet at its base, but the surface was whipped by the whirlwind that is Fred, Federico, the guitarrero. He swept in on Monday, bearing suitcases overpacked with Extra-Crunchy peanut butter, über-sharp cheddar cheese, and (glory be!) the makings for authentic Mexican tamales. He slept, then swept out again, northward to France.
I love me a good tamale. When in Madrid I try my best to find them, usually sating the urge at Mas Que Café, a Peruvian lunch counter at Mercado Anton Martin. (This is one of our favorite restaurants in that great city -- lovely staff, great food at great prices, and unbeatable atmosphere. It is formica among the hand-trucks and lettuces and fish-heads of the market stalls. But there´s all the whip-slender inmates of the Flamenco-dance school upstairs, and the smiling knife-grinder from the stall next door, and the Bearded Intellectual horndogs from the revolutionary bookstore... all of them mixing it up and knocking it back, smoking and laughing and oh so alive, here and now.)
Here at The Peaceable it rains. Tim has tossed himself into his dog bed like a furry salad. Patrick is online, peering hard at the Daily Racing Form statistics for the Dubai World Cup.
Me, I am making a half-size feast of tamales. It is an elaborate rite, filled with sidesteps and substitutions. The foodies say you must have lard for the cornmeal-and-lime dough, but the local lard is too intensely piggy for my taste. I use instead a part of my precious, hoarded Crisco vegetable shortening, a chemical concoction my caring American family sends to ensure my continuing arterial decay, and half "cuisine et pâtisserie," a posh block of pretty much the same stuff, supplied by my remaining friend in Paris. (This contributor is Miguel Angel, who is himself a native Mexican tamale-eater. So it is fitting.) (Fear not, I do still have a couple of friends in France...they just are not in the capitol. Thank God.) (And yes, it is true. I do not care for Paris, any more than Paris cares for me.)
Which makes me think, guiltily, I let my Parisian godson´s birthday go by without sending him an illustrated book of Greek myths, as I intended. Ingre DÁulaire, read as a child, gave me all the base in Classics I ever got, or ever needed: Greek, Roman, and Norse. DÁulaire, (with a generous salting of native bullshit) proved sufficient for my academic progress, even as a major in European history, even as a Master´s candidate in church history, even as a professional writer and journo in religion and art and culture. The Greek Myths are the tales that stand behind our fairy stories, our movie and novel and narrative plots. We keep repeating them, over and over. The Greek myths, and the Bible, and maybe Bach and Beethoven and Billie Holliday and David Bowie ... I made sure my children had these to hand, too. And so I will try to do with my godson, who I have not seen for a couple of years now, but who I still feel responsibility for.
Heavens, I am discursive today. It is Lent, so I am not even under any outside influence!
Maybe it is Demeter, or Persephone -- the mother-daugher spring-and-summer pair, who oversee this blog post. Maybe it is because the earth is coming alive, but nothing else is really happening yet. Yet. The expectation is so... there! Or maybe it is a warning to you, blogueros, that I am off, yet again, to the Camino de Invierno. This time in company. A team of Dutch guide-writers is walking that way, doing a deluxe tourist-oriented guide, taking their time, taking a good GPS reading, taking notes... I asked if I could tag along, over the mountains from O Barco de Valdeorras to Monforte de Lemos, the part that sickness and weariness made me miss out on last year. And they said "sure!"
And so I go. Maybe I will write.
Like the peas, and the Dubai Cup, the urge to write rises in the spring, toward the light.
Let´s not expect anything. Let us just be thankful for what is. Bulbs, peas, seeds. Que será, será.