Friday, 13 February 2015

Que Tranquilo!

Rosalia de Castro, resting between mouse-slayings
Spaniards are always astounded to learn we live in rural Palencia year-round. "Que tranquilo!" they exclaim... "How quiet!" And between the lines they mean "Que aburrido!" How boring!

But it suits us right down to the ground, at least the way we play it. There's plenty here to occupy our minds.

We bought a big box of everything Chopin ever wrote, played by tip-top musicians. We got the stereo to play out of four speakers instead of just two, and put one speaker out on the patio, so the whole Peaceable can be All Polonaise, All the Time. Superb!
Two weeks ago, I had a large-needle mammary biopsy of a half-a-lentil-size something in my right breast, without any anesthesia. Yow! Anything but boring, that.
While in Paris, while consuming a sea-salt caramel, a 30-year-old filling came loose from an even-more-venerable tooth. (Lots of other stuff happened there, but that would be a digression.) I had the filling repaired in Sahagun, also without anesthesia. It appears that news of my September over-reaction to dental anesthesia has made the rounds of the Spanish healthcare system. So now, minor surgical interventions are a practice in Being Present With Pain. Zen discipline is my new way of life, whether I like it or not!
So far, I find authentic pain not much worse than the eeeugh of being shot-up with local anesthesia. And none of it compares to the horror of being strapped into the Magnetic Resonance Imaging device. So go ahead, doc, poke me with needles! Anything but that clattering bondage chamber!

...But I shall not be one of those old ladies nattering on about her latest "procedure."
Suffice to say I will, hopefully, learn on Monday whether or not I have breast cancer.

And that is my excuse for not writing a whole lot these days.

That, and it's winter, and I am depressed. And I have a great big toothsome editing project to work on, and a speech to give (in English) at the university in Palencia, and a radio interview after that (in Spanish.)

And we're putting out to bid a big renovation on the little kitchen/despensa/bathroom by the front gate, to make it its own nice little weatherproof solar-powered apartment. The dollar is strong. The time is right. We might need someone to come here sometime and help us out, and they will want their own space. I thought long and hard about buying one of the two fincas for sale here in town, but decided we might as well make the most of what we have already. I cannot save the whole adobe world on my own. At least not until I hit the lottery.

Since Bruno left we have lots and lots of pilgrims, relatively speaking. Most of them are South Koreans, and some of them speak a few words of a language we can handle. They are decent company, they keep the days rolling along, they keep things interesting. Kindly people from far away send us donations to help pay their way, because most of these pilgrims leave only a fiver in the box. It all comes up even in the end, I think.
I try not to think too too much. It is almost tax time, when I have to tally up all the numbers and tell all to two countries, in two languages.
But money is almost as boring as medical procedures.

Like I said, I went to Paris for a quick visit. I ate oysters, and had my spirits lifted. I went last week to Santiago de Compostela, for a "more of the same" hospitalero get-together and some Quality Time with my buds John and Stephen... and Laurie, up on the mountain on the way home in O Cebreiro. Spirits again lifted. It is good to get out, to see how others like me are coping with the grey skies and manuscripts and daily demands.

Plans are moving forward. Schemes are being schemed. Soon I will reveal details of a cool new FICS hospitalero opportunity which I hope will not consume me until I get the latest book edited. Paddy is headed down to Malaga, to visit family and soak up some rays and escape the pilgrim onslaught for a few days. Nothing at all is happening with the Asociacion Cultural, but I can't afford to worry about that just now.

People ask me how I can stand the silence and boredom of this isolated, underpopulated place. And sometimes I say the winter sky here is startlingly clear when the wind blow
s, especially at night. At night I go out and look up at Venus and Mars and the rings of Saturn and the belt of Orion, and I know how small I am, here on our little ball two rocks from the sun.

I know none of us means much at all.
And I will be all right.


Ingrid said...

Ah Reb, never a break. Keep your spirits up, I know the waiting is mind numbing. My woo woo spirit is sending you doses of healing light and prayers to the Almighty that this cross will pass you by.

I love your plans for the Peaceable and am looking forward to your report on the hospitalero ideas with FICS.

Here in Toronto, our chapter, we are adding an outreach programme to connect with Camino organizations to specifically address the veteran pilgrim and the push to support albergues needing help (including increasing our volunteer #s). More to come on this as well. Might need your help in identifying worthy causes.

BIG HUG Ingrid

Warren said...

i am looking up at the same stars, slightly aligned differently and wish to say how much i am enjoying your posts on dogs, chickens and silence.. 'small-ness' is all relative. I make darken your door this spring, so go peacefully. Warren

Nell Pilgrim said...

Reb you are in our thoughts and prayers. Ill light a candle for you at at the shrine of St Valentine today-we have a bit of him in Dublin. Keep well said...

God Heavens, Nell..which bit? Not a rude one, I hope. Paddy said...

God Heavens, Nell..which bit? Not a rude one, I hope. Paddy

Tracy Saunders. said...

Hope everything turns out well from the biopsy, Reb. I have had a golf-ball sized lump - same place - for years. Came from a horse bite. I just have to get it flattened every year to make sure it hasn't grown. It hasn't.
We are having a better winter here than last year so am sending some Galician blue your way.