My apartment is usually very quiet, but there was a lot of commotion in the building the other morning.
A nice young couple whose balcony overlooks the central courtyard must have rediscovered the Beatles recently and were delighted to share their enthusiasm with the neighbors.
Kind, but unnecessary.
At first, I was distracted, and then I began reading an exquisite short story by, Eliecer Cardenas, “The Great Spirit”.
An unnamed narrator is visiting New York City, an “exaggerated London, or Paris,” to participate in an art show. Conditions beyond his control persuade him to stay at a cousin’s home on Long Island, a place he describes as, “people living in comfortable homes of soft pastels and full of emptiness.”
I was as moved by the passage and I was moving; what began as an undercurrent of unconscious foot tapping, stepped into a rousing air guitar solo. I was plugged into the music as much as my neighbors were, all of them. We were in a collective groove that suited the mood so well, I nearly applauded when it was over.
We are, “people living in comfortable apartments of brilliant reds and full of liveliness”, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I suppose that I will always be enthralled by the charm of this city.
It is so sweet, even bees journey here from all around the region to sample the candies and confections laid before them for the Feast of Corpus Christi.
It is so full of energy, the sky explodes in a nightly celebration that spins white hot and soars higher than cathedral spires.
And all of the sweets and all the fireworks are for a single purpose, to celebrate the pious nature and deep faith that creaks with the weight of a thousand years of devotion, to each other and a higher calling, be it the Lord Christ or the God of Bountiful Harvest.
I have never felt so at home.
I watched a scene the other day that was so beguiling, and so simple, it seeped into my bloodstream and lives with me now.
An older man opens the door to his home beginning a ritual as old as his sunrise. He is wearing an Eisenhower jacket and some ironed slacks, shiny from age and wear. He is crowned with a fedora. A newspaper is tucked under his arm. A light gray blanket of cloud is wringing into a mist, cushioning the concrete.
A woman of similar age appears in the still opened doorway holding a small yellow bag neatly tied in a knot she has crossed together a thousand times. She calls quietly; I cannot make out what she says, but, he does. He turns and retrieves his lunch, forgetful as always, and holds it before him like a lantern. Something yellow to light the way. To remember.
As he turns away from home and towards his job, the woman calls again. It is even softer this time because even as I am straining to hear the slightest word, I understand not a sound. He pauses a moment, then turns to meet her eye to eye with love and affection that brightens the light around them. He returns to kiss her good-bye.
And so it is done. Another morning ritual much like many others playing before us daily and with far more depth than I know.
But, I do know this one. It is in my blood.
A couple came over for dinner the other evening who can be quite lively. We drifted along a meandering stream made of cocktails and stories – some, thankfully, too tall to be true, and all inflated with so much laughter my sides ached by the time all was said and done. The banks of our meandering stream were sprinkled with yellows and brilliant greens.
When we finally bumped ashore, it was late evening. My friends said their goodbyes. Quiet rolled across the courtyard; fog hugged the Cajas.
I treasured the moment as if it were pure gold – and it was.