far too much writing, far too many photos

I’ve been immersed in work lately — work I want to be doing, work that is taking me in directions I want to go, but work. Lots of it, consuming huge portions of the last three weeks. Yesterday, after a.m. errands, I found myself parked front of my laptop (such a strange, vaguely suggestive turn of phrase: ‘in front of my laptop’), late morning giving way to the afternoon, the afternoon giving way in turn to evening. And as daylight began to fade, I grabbed my jacket, headed outside for a long walk, for an extended lungful of the local version of fresh air. Taking me from lengthy, hermetic hours into streets overflowing of people and energy. And I mean overflowing, the local world out taking advantage of a beautiful day, of the January sales in full swing. Sidewalks packed with swirling waves of people — couples, families, groups of friends, many carrying bags of purchases. Energy, the sound of many feet walking, of many voices talking, traffic on the narrow streets moving slowly, cautiously, so as not to flatten crowds spilling over the curbs into the thoroughfares. The kind of crowds that feel a bit startling after hours spent alone. A kind of intensity of human life that feels therapeutic after hours spent alone.

I’m going to be back in Vermont for the month of February. Talk about contrast. There I look out the window, there are trees and mountains, now and then a passing car. Once in a while someone out for a stroll will walk down the gravel road, past the end of the driveway, briefly in view, then gone. Unless I go into Montpelier, most life is wildlife — flying critters, four-leggeds. Here, in a barrio where much of the life is lived out in the street, the people are often the wildlife.

Two nights ago, the wee hours. I woke from a vivid dream — featuring a Spanish woman, someone I don’t know in 3-D life, had never seen before — to the sound of three or four tipsy 20-something Spanish women down in the street singing. A strange, slightly silly, slightly melancholy tune, each verse beginning with the line Amamos donde estamos…. (We love where we are….) They sang for several minutes, the lyrics now and then dissolving into laughter, the group finally moving off, their voices fading away.

The only nondomesticated animal life in these parts are sparrows, pigeons, the occasional magpie. There is no real birdsong. The occasional bursts of local music come from the true local wildlife: people in the plaza, groups walking down the street. Humans out together, creating loud, animated life.

And then this morning around 11, me out for the Sunday paper, for a cup of espresso and a croissant — the streets quiet, empty, the local wildlife at home in bed. The exact opposite of most of the wildlife back in northern Vermont, going quiet with the sunset, coming to life at dawn.

Different aspects of this living jewel we call Earth.

It’s now early afternoon, January sunlight streams in the windows, now and then noise from the street indicates the local world is up and moving out into the day.

A good idea, that, getting out into the day. I think it’s time to get some air, see what’s happening in barrio.



And speaking of wildlife, where is Buffy when we need her?
‘Vampire takes a bite out of Brum’ — from the Guardian via fudge it.

Madrid, te quiero.

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