far too much writing, far too many photos

And finally. Finally, springtime has begun settling in. And when I say springtime, I mean leaves on trees (thick enough to cast flickering pools of light/shadow on sidewalks and streets), air mild enough to make coats/jackets unnecessary, a general feel of the world opening out after months of so much gray and rain. Man, it’s nice.

One morning late last week, the swifts arrived, one of the definitive signs that the warm season has taken hold. Didn’t matter that rain and gray skies dominated for several days running, that temperatures had cooled. Didn’t matter that the big plume of airborne volcanic ash overspread the area like an Icelandic anti-aircraft, er, thingie. The season has turned. And two, three days back — the first day of clear skies and sunlight in nearly a week — it was suddenly clear that local trees had made serious headway putting out greenery under cover of gray and rain. And with sunlight came temperatures fit for springtime clothing. I could feel my bod going ahhhhhhh…. as I walked down the avenue.

The swifts are a part of the warm season here that I love in a way that would be hard to express. Amazing flyers, always careening about above in the open sky in groups, keening out the joy of being alive. Waking up in the morning to the strange music of their calls has an effect on me, registering — warning: purple prose alert — in the cells of my physical self with a deep, mysterious pleasure. Seriously. It’s an example of the kind of thing that provokes inexplicable pleasure. Surprisingly deep and meaningful.

And something else that provokes pleasure: walking down a rain-damp sidewalk this afternoon, I came across a 50 euro note. No one else around, no one from whose pocket the bill could have slipped. Whoever the previous owner was, they’d folded the note to within an inch of its life, so that what I found was a small, curled rectangle of paper, soaked through from moisture so that the colors were muted, neutral, not the usual loud orange and white of the 50 euro bills. So for a brief instant, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. But only for the briefest of instants, until brain processed vision and body immediately bent over, hand snaked out, grabbed damp bit of paper, wiped it clean, slid it into shirt pocket, made sure it was snugly in place, not likely to climb out of pocket to freedom a second time.

This was not the first time I’ve made that kind of find. I used to come across bills and change everywhere I went, including a $100 bill discovered on a sidwalk in downtown Boston. But it’s been a while.



Note, to whomever this may apply to: if the original Hendrix version of ‘Manic Depression’ is playing on a decent sound system, please — PLEASE — if you’ve got a tin ear and can’t even manage a vague approximation of the melody, don’t whistle along loudly. ‘Cause you absolutely crucify the moment for those who would otherwise be enjoying the tune.

Seriously. Please. Contain yourself.


Abandoned bar, Madrid --

Madrid, te amo.

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