far too much writing, far too many photos

November. Many mornings dawning gray, rainy — overcast and moisture slowly thinning as the a.m. hours creep by. By midday, wan sunlight seeps through, cloud cover mostly dissipating soon after. Long afternoon shadows slant across sidewalks littered with fallen leaves.

Have lately been exploring barrios mostly unknown to me, hunting photos. Have spent the last few days making my way through the area known as Ciudad Lineal, methodically moving through its streets. Walked through a park, the surrounding area greener than most parts of that zone — suddenly found myself a few feet away from the first birdsong I’ve heard since summertime, its source hidden in nearby foliage, singing sweetly, with a mournful edge, as if aware that harder weather would be coming soon. Five 20-something humans provided counterpoint from a street corner, laughing among themselves like hyenas.

A few blocks from there, along a block with little if any greenery around, I heard more birdsong, this time a happier, higher-energy kind. Realized it came from inside a car repair joint — a caged canary, singing its heart out. Well-fed, not exposed to the elements, clearly content. The first time I’ve come across that Spanish tradition — caged songbirds providing warm weather music during the colder months — since living in Chueca, right in the city center. A long time ago now, feeling almost like another lifetime.

Sitting in a café this afternoon, wading through today’s El País. Found an article on the rapid changes happening here re: cellphones and wired life. According to the article, 81% of the population in the U.S. has cellphones – here the figure is 113%, meaning there are more cellphones than residents, over 53 million móviles compared with 47 million people. And, if this article is accurate, there are currently substantially more cellphones with high-speed internet than there are Spanish households that have high-speed internet connections — 32% compared with 21%. Interesting, thought I.

This evening: riding a bus home, passing Atocha station. Across the boulevard, a moon that looked suspiciously full hung in the sky, hanging low above white high-rise buildings. Passing them, one after another, heading east with the bus as darkness fell and evening gradually gave way to night.


Detail of a seriously abused window along a Madrid backstreet:

España, te amo

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