Saturday, 9 February 2013

February Is Better

January is always a bitch. The days stretch on, long and gray. Everyone gets the flu or the gripes or the Dreaded Lurgy. The washing machine leaks, the front door won´t close, the car yodels when the defroster´s turned up beyond 3.
The January page on my calender is the only one with days X´d out, counted down.
I do not like to waste the time I have here on the earth. I like to appreciate my life, live each day to the fullest, and all that. But January doesn´t count toward the total.
January is sometimes not living. It is surviving. Enduring.

February, on the other hand...
Not a job for amateurs
When I flip the page over to February, something happens to the light. Suddenly the daylight lasts longer. It is 7 p.m. sometimes before the sun goes down. The sun is out, the sky is bright blue, it has been bright blue for days now. The fields are spectacularly green. 
I don´t have to scrape so much ice off the windshield now on Monday and Thursday mornings.
Yes, it is still cold. (Justi says February is the coldest month, but I don´t believe it.) In the afternoon the wind gets up and roars all around the house, but now it feels cozy, not threatening. And we get out of the house and about the neighborhood a bit more now.
We see the Segundino family out in their massive garden, planting out the early peas. The vines are all trimmed back now, the clippings bundled up for oncoming barbecues. Edu and Fran pruned the apricot and fig and cherry trees last weekend, so I did the same thing here, to our apple and pear and fig trees. (This year we shall have apples!) In the patio I planted an almond tree. The dogs are not molesting it. (I wonder if that means it is not just dormant -- they don´t bother killing things that are already dead.)

Orejones ("big ears")
Patrick´s birthday is February 7. Milagros´ birthday is February 9. So today, at the meeting room of the ayuntamiento, Milagros and Florín threw a little party to mark the great occasion -- ten of us gathered round the table and ruined our dinnertime appetites with glasses full of thick, rich hot chocolate and "orejones," a sort of funnel-cake fried-dough treat made with home-brewed liquor and sugar and lard. Ash Wednesday is coming up, and this is traditional "Fat Tuesday" fare -- our last chance to stop up our arteries before, well... dinner. (In the slow cooker at home bubbled barbecued pulled-pork and ribs, all sticky and lovely. It was not a good day on the cholesterol front.)

It was good to sit down with the neighbors, even though our numbers were small. I miss the old Vermut gatherings after church -- the advent of the new Bodega restaurant seems to have snuffed out that weekly event. I am sure we will find a happy medium as time goes on. There are so few of us here in winter, and it is way too easy to wall ourselves away when it´s cold.
birthday boy and girl

Moratinos is an isolated place so early in the year, but we don´t have to always be alone.  

I heard from an American pilgrim who stayed here on New Year´s Eve. Paddy showed him a fine old time, apparently. On his blog you can read all about it, and see the ins and outs of a wintertime pilgrim


Timecheck said...

Liquor and sugar and lard - how can it not be wonderful? Reminds me of Louisiana and the wonderful food there, so lethal, but oh so good!

Kiwi Nomad said...

He ranks you above the Parador in Leon Reb- quite some achievement ;-)