The days go by and the days go by. I had expected to blog more, but my computer has been acting up (including today), especially when I tried to keep up with my e-mail. Who know? Maybe it's a Hotmail problem. But right now we are sitting in a wifi cafe with a good signal and for the moment, my computer is once again user friendly.
We were blest with wonderful weather most of the month, except for a very few days soon after arrival. Slowly we've watch autumn creep closer with cooler mornings and evenings, but the afternoons have been warm and sunny -- enough so that we could eat outside on the patio and listen to the birds and see nothing but greenery everywhere. Only in the past week have a few trees started turning yellow, and certain decorative vines in gardens and in public places have turned a bright scarlet, while above white clouds float in a deep blue sky.
The wine harvest is finally over, and now the quince is in full fruit and chestnuts are ripening. Chestnut trees are everywhere, the nuts encased in golden spiky pods in clusters of three, looking like so many twinkling yellow stars. In olden days, they were more plentiful than potatoes and people ate them (and still do) baked, or mashed with butter. The ripened quince look to me like big, lumpy pears, and they are cooked into a candied sweet that is a little like a hardened halva or a Turkish delight.
This has been partially a working holiday, with both of us at our computers in wifi cafes, sipping cafe con leche or wine, depending on the time of day. The rest of the time has been spent socializing one way or another: Cooking Indian food for friends, accepting dinner invitations, going out for raciones or tapas, or sitting on the local bench with our neighbors, attempting to converse in our growing, though still-limited, Spanish. At least 4 or 5 times a week we walk down the to the carretera, or highway -- a walk of about half a mile each way, except the way back is mostly uphill!
Most mornings in our village the day begins with a blanket of fog in the valley, banks of clouds that obscure the opposite hills. Then the fog rises and disperses into a veil of mist, and the villages that sprinkle the far slopes slowly come into view with their red tile roofs. The morning sun lights the nearest trees and bushes, giving them a soft golden halo. And finally the day arrives in full with its warmth. I could watch the ever-changing scene outside the window forever and never get bored. I store it up inside, along with the musical rise and fall of voices in Spanish or Gallego that flow around us when we go into Monforte or the outlying villages and small towns. It's a magical place to both of us.
And so it goes. One day fades into another, and before we know it, the month is gone and it's time to go home. Each time I carry away new memories of the landscape with its changing cycles and the warm goodheartedness of the people. Returning deepens the experience each time. Part of my heart will always be anchored here as well as in Sacramento: two beautiful places in different ways, for different reasons.