Friday, September 11, 2009

Timeless Galicia

We have been here for a week. We had a good flight (in stages), and by the time we reached the house we had been up and awake for over 24 hours, since we don't sleep well in the air. After showering, we joined our neighbors at "el banco", a bench in the heart of the hamlet where our neighbors gather in the early evening to talk. It was wonderful to see everyone again.

We've already slipped into the cyle of Spanish rural life. It's still dark at 7:00 a.m., although some of our neighbors already go by our window in their tractor, on their way to harvest the potatoes. September weather is hot, hot, hot. Lunch is around 1:30 -- 2:00 p.m. or even later, since shops close down at 1:30 and don't open again until 4:30 or even 5:00 in the evening. In our village, we usually gather at the bench around 7:30 p.m., and then everyone disperses around 8:45 for dinner. It's usually 11:00 or midnight by the time we get to sleep. It only took about two days to slip into this routine!

Already our wonderful neighbors have inundated us with food: Eva brought us eggs and tomatoes; Antonio and Maria Elena potatoes and more tomatoes; Milagros gave us a bag of peaches; and Miguel keeps us regularly supplied with his wonderful home-made wine.

Despite the heat of mid-day, mornings are misty once the soft indigo lightens and night fades. The air is filled with bird twitter, the baaing of lambs, and the barking of dogs. This is also cricket season--not the sport, but the insect. (If a cricket on the hearth is good luck then our luck is fabulous.) In the evening there is usually a soft breeze around dusk. And then the night goes suddenly black.

We faithfully walk a mile or more a day, but it's a different mile here: uphill and downhill on winding country roads that go through successive villages, where people wish us "buen dia" or "buenas tardes", and cows or sheep give us long, curious glances.

At the end of September the wine harvest is coming. Starting in spring, nearly every week-end one village or another is having a fiesta to celebrate it's patron saint. Time slips away. Local life catches us up in its repeating cycles of custom and season. And always there is the sense of nature's tranquility.

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