From my notes of Day 41: 2/20/2012

I have been staying with Julia and her family for about a week now.  Everyday discussions about gardening, the new Rhodesian Ridgeback pup, and past travel destinations have become comfortable and revealing.  Julia has good ideas, with a proven past, on how to build a community.  She started a weekly yoga class in the one room stone house above the driveway.  There were a dozen or so attendants every week.  After the class was finished there was a social time with baked goods and tea in the house.  Everyone was invited.  There were always a few more people at the social hour than at the class.  I was one of those people.

While the group was working on their chakra I was out on the property working on a garden.   Near the middle of the winding driveway there was a path that led to a few rectangular gardens.  One of them was bisected by an olive tree.  The broad beans that had sprung up under the olive branches weeks earlier were now in danger of dwindling.  Weeds had grown up around them.  The shade of the olive branches deprived them of the sun.  I could not move the olive branches but I could move the weeds and beans.  I have been working on this area when I have had a chance for a couple of days and today I noticed new leaves sprouting on the weeded beans.

Usually when I was working on that garden Rupert would come over and tell me how much better it looked than the last time he saw it.  He would come over and work with me until he was needed somewhere else.  He was always telling me to take breaks when I got bored.  He could never understand how I did not mind working alone.  Today, though, he didn’t come over to that garden.  I was watching a prickly white caterpillar that I had found when I heard him down in the driveway.  I looked over the cliff.  He was on the phone, pacing in short circles.

I could not tell what was wrong.  I went down to the house to see if there was anything I could do.  The class had just finished.  As everyone walked into the house Rupert waited silently.  He explained that Fernando, a member of their community and one of the most experienced construction men around, had been injured in town.  While he was driving in the narrow streets of a nearby village he had clipped the mirror of a parked car.  He knew who the car belonged to and decided it would be best for him to leave with his newborn baby in the back seat before anyone saw him there.

Before Fernando reached the corner the man came out of the carneceria shouting.  He saw Fernando speeding off towards the bend so he got in his car and chased after him.  The mirrorless man and his accompanying convoy encircled Fernando outside of town.  Fernando stopped and tried to talk to the man as they approached his car.  Then a brick pierced his rear window and landed in the seat next to his infant son.  Fernando hit the gas and when he hit the car in front of him he kept the pedal to the floor, trying to push the truck out of the way.  Then his car died.  A gang of men pulled him out of his car, kicking him and beating him with their motorcycle helmets.  They left him in the dirt with his unharmed baby boy in the back seat of the car.  After he regained some strength he drove back to a friend’s house and then went to the hospital.  It sounded like he had a painful, but promising, recovery ahead of him.

I went into the sun room that opens out over the mountain valley.  Wim was in there playing table tennis with someone’s smart young son.  The kid always had an answer for Wim’s seemingly impossible questions.  He was clever but could he play table tennis?  I called the winner.  The speed of Wim’s next backhanded smash across the table froze the youngster.  That was the end of the game.  I was the next challenger.

We never kept score.  We played until we were finished talking about History, Mathematics, and Science.  Some days we only talked about History.  Today we talked about going for a hike around the village.  The game ended soon after with Wim winning.   We grabbed Bubba the Ridgeback and headed up the mountain to the village of Cañar.

Wim attended the school near the top of the mountain when he was younger.  He said there were only about thirty students at the school when he was there.  There are still about thirty students attending the Cañar school.  We passed the “fascist bar” and the Farmacia.  We went into the tapas place in the village and watched a replay of the Valencia V. Madrid soccer match.  We ate different cheeses, olives, and fish along with biscuits and breads.

On our way down the mountain I watched the sun as it neared the horizon.  Wim and Bubba were ahead of me but I was in no hurry.  I was in no hurry, that is, until I remembered that I had not gathered any wood for my burner tonight.  I grimaced with the memory of the last bitter night I had spent without a fire.  I hurried down the decaying mud-board steps.  Wim was almost inside the house.  I told him I would be in shortly.  He did not respond.

After gathering my firewood I went into the house.  Julia was the only one out in the living area.  I sat at the counter with her.  We discussed the usual gardening stuff and Bubba’s escapades.  Then we talked about what had happened to Fernando today.  Then I asked Julia what she thought about politics in Spain.  She told me that she felt the same way about politics in Spain as she did about politics in the rest of the world.  The political systems of the world occur inside a bubble.  She chooses to be outside that bubble.

Rupert joined us and we talked about the books of Tolkien and educational techniques.  Many hours later I stepped out into the darkness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at night.  It was a short walk to my caravan.  The wolves howled and a dog cried from across the valley.  I started a fire and laid down on my bed.  The cool wind came in gusts through the open door.  Soon the smoke would be clear and I could shut the door.  Instead, I left the door open and let the fresh air in.

This is part of the roof of the yoga house. The other half is not visible from the exterior because it goes into the mountain.

What Bubba does not know is that he is about to go on an adventure.

The white caterpillar I was looking at when I first heard Rupert distressed

The flower-lined path that leads to the mud-board stairs