Sunday, 3 July 2016

Trees, Bees, and a little Batshit

"Batshit Crazy" seems to describe much of what's going on in the world these days. (You gotta love English, it's so colorful!) While true suffering, shock, and history happen elsewhere, we continue in our smallness, doing the things we like, for and with the people we love.

Here in Moratinos a division of the Asociacion Cultural is busy crocheting and knitting sweaters for the trees in the plaza mayor. In North America this is called "yarn bombing." I don't get it. It seems a little crazy to me (not to the point of batshit) but nobody asked me. Someone suggested I sit down and knit, too, seeing as I am a girl, but that is beyond my abilities. My fingers don't do that.

The trees are bright and fun and probably very cozy, and more sweaters appear every day. The ladies are pleased, the pilgrims snap photos.
And on the ground around those trees, in a space where once lived a ragged flowerbed, we now have an orderly semi-circle of (someday) flowering shrubs, surrounded by weed-snuffing landscape fabric, covered in an abundance of river stones. Reyes and Flor, handy people, plotted and planted over several weekends, with labor drafted from among the ranks.
Again, I couldn't envision in advance what they were planning, but nobody asked me. But it's taking shape now, and it's surprisingly nice in a janky, sweet Moratinos kind of way.

the rock garden, visible from overhead aircraft
We planted 50 Euros' worth of flowers in pots all around the plaza, and now individual householders are putting bushes and flowers out on their window-sills, too. It's gratifying.

And I didn't do a whole lot of the heavy lifting. I just yammered for a year and a half and finally drove us all to the plant nursery to get things rolling. We meet after church next Sunday to divvy up the work of watering all these plants. Poor Milagros is the only one from the Barrio Abajo who is here every day of the week, and she can't do it all alone.

The church is open now every morning so pilgrims can stop in and say their prayers and wonder where all the magnificent artwork has gone. Moratinos is one of the few pilgrimage churches that doesn't have any awe-inspiring artwork. It's always been a humble, hardscrabble place. Our church ain't much, I tell the tourists, but it's well-loved. You can feel that in there, if you slow down a minute and let yourself breathe.

The other natural wonder of recent days has nothing to do with the plaza or Asociacion. It has to do with bees. A big swarm of honey bees arrived at Peaceable on Friday evening, and set up house in the disused chimney above the salon. It was wonderful and awful. Half the house hummed and roared, the air above the patio was dark with movement; the salon, too, started filling up with bees. thank goodness we had no pilgrims that day!
Happily, we have Eric here in town. Eric, also known as Eddie, is Moratinos' youngest resident, a member of the hardworking Flor/Reyes/Segundino clan. He is also a bee-keeping enthusiast. He rolled up the drive with a bee-box, a fetching hat-veil-gloves ensemble, and an even more fetching jar of organic lemony-scented bee bait. He set it up in the weed-choked alleyway our batshit-crazy mayor refuses to mow, not far from the chimney.

We set a fire in the salon fireplace. That fireplace is useless, most of the smoke pours back into the room. Still, enough went up the chimney for long enough to convince the bees that maybe that wasn't their best choice for a home.  

The box is still out there, three days later, busy with bees. We're letting them settle in before Eddie moves the box to a more isolated place. I think they're happy now -- the patio is bee-free, the alley hums quietly with life. I wish I could keep the bees, because I love them, and because they chose to live here with us. They're a blessing, a sign of good fortune. But I am allergic to a lot of things, and I don't want to tempt fate. And wax and honey are sticky. My fingers don't do that.


Beth Caporali said...

Ah, but your fingers DO write marvelous stories about the glories of Moratinos and tales of the pilgrim trail and other fascinations. If you want to contribute to the yarn decor give them your shawl. It can go near the church as it is hole-y. Much love❤️

Melindi Venter said...

Hi Rebeccah I'm not sure whether you will see this post but I am planning to walk through Morantino's roundabout the 25th of August and would love to stay over at the Peaceble Kingdom - just love your blog and hope to meet you in person - will sure give it a try.
Lots of good wishes

Irma Venter
South Africa said...

Thank you for showing us the Moratinos and the Peaceable. I am sure the pilgrims and hikers and bikers do love to stay there and spend time for a while. You write amazingly.