Who was it said that life is a journey and not a destination? Well, we all know the wisdom in that, don’t we, so it occurs to me that bemoaning the frustrations of being static is a negative way of looking at the here and now. This being here is a part of the journey, though one which is, perhaps, less intense, less exciting than finding the unknown at every turn. Which is not to say that the future doesn’t hold miraculous, new discoveries far afield. It is just to say that more positive energy is going to come about by treating this time as a part of the journey. OK it has turned out to be something different from anticipated, but I would changed very, very little of the last four years if I could go back in time. Perhaps a realization of the changing tide of my life should have come sooner, but then, it didn’t so here I am, here and now.
There is as much wonder here as there is in a million other places, and there are thousands of facets to these islands (let alone this island) that I have never explored, and so since funds are excruciatingly limited right now (we won’t go there, that’s the negative) I will explore the possibilities which begin on my own doorstep, and I will spread out from there, and one day I will be able to take flight.
I’m kind of back to plan B. Los Cristianos is becoming less and less appealing, although I can make lots of logical reasons for staying (I have friends here or within easy reach; almost everything is within easy walking distance, as I found out when my wrist was broken; Geert’s lovely bar is my “local”; buses are easy if the car breaks down), and as soon as I was within five minutes of Él Médano on the coast road my heart lifted and felt free, and logic seemed less important.
It isn’t set in stone as yet, but this week is decision time. And reasons for plumping for Él Médano? These pictures apart, because arugeably you could say that recent snaps of Los Cristianos have been quite nice too, the atmostphere is more “real”. It’s a town where people live and enjoy themselves, where neighbours know each other, even though it is growing fast, and it looks like the future may be bringing tourism in bigger numbers, but for now it is quiet enough. There are great places to eat and drink. If anything it reminds me of an “old fashioned” holiday resort. The beaches are full of people doing things, kids playing, kite surfers, wind surfers, old ladies bathing, gorgeous young people playing bat and ball, unlike the tourist beaches where fat bellies roasting are the order of the day. I know I’m making sweeping statements here, and I am looking for reasons for my head to rule my heart – but do you know, whenever in life I’ve let that happen it hasn’t worked out. The best things have been the instinctive “go for it” things.
Early Winter mornings, clear, clear air, images so sharp you could cry over the perfection. It doesn’t have that magic incandesce of the the light in the South of France, but it does give cause for a slow, appreciative intake of breath, when you have the time to stop and take it in.
This morning I walked down to the sea with Trixy, and it was early enough still to revel in the colors and the tranquility. The island of La Gomera, which you can see behind the ferry and the harbor wall here, floated distinctly on the horizon, and the desperately blue sea tiptoed to shore in gentle waves.
Heck, I know that on the other side of that ferry it certainly isn’t tranquil, as cars are marshalled off and on, food and drink are restocked, people mumble and children scream as they clamber aboard, and cleaners hurry to complete the turnaround, but here, sitting on the opposite shore, we sat and watched the world drift by……several runners, a couple of dog walkers, a couple with two, small children from the row of motor homes parked on rough land just above the beach, a homeless guy passively watching us watching him, and fishing boats and the police patrol boat puttering into and out of the harbor. The people below were industriously looking for limpets which, abandoned by the outgoing tide, cling to the rocky shore. Cooked right they taste like the ocean with a hint of olive oil and garlic, cooked wrong they turn to rubber! If you get away from the tourist traps you will find them on the menus of most coastal restaurant/bars.
It’s a happy sign that life still goes on in the old way despite the shiny, modern hotel which sits behind this stretch of beach, and despite the gawkers like us and the hundreds of tourists arriving and departing from the harbor opposite. I like to think that generations of these families have scoured the beach for their lunches this way.
March 12th Postscript to this entry:
I find conflicting information about this. I was told that these people were looking for lapas, and I did wonder about it, not being an expert on the subject of limpets or anything, but it didn’t sound right somehow. I knew that they weren’t looking for octopus either, because I’ve often seen people doing that, and they just weren’t going about their search in the same way. Opinion amongst friends is that they are most likely looking for anything left behind by the tide which could be used as bait for catching the “big fish”. Who knows? Next time I will know to ask!
It must be hard to grasp the subtleties of the Canarian climate when you are in the grasp of a Winter as severe as this one is further North, but even now there are the first signs of Spring here. The Armas ferry is about to leave in this picture, but the sun is still on the horizon, yet in the picture just a few days ago the departing ferry is ploughing into the remnants of the sunset, and is almost in darkness……which means the days are getting loooooonger, people!
Having lived in places with stunning sunrises and one with stunning sunsets I am now sure that sunrises are my favorite. Sunsets may be more reliably spectacular, and it is certainly the emotional implications which sway my decision. Sunsets are wistful, even sad. It’s the end of the day, marking all the things you didn’t accomplish – yet again! But a sunrise is hope renewed, bright and beautiful, full of the promise of the possibilities of the new day.
Well, here we go again – on the move. I knew that our sojourn in Los Cristianos would be short, a year to 8 months, and 8 months it has been. Guy flew to England yesterday to start a whole, new chapter in life, and Austin flew back from Santa Lucia last week to begin one too with Camille. All of which leaves me and Trix alone again.
Hey now – I didn’t mean that to sound melancoly. I could give you just as many reasons for enjoying living alone as for living en famille, once one’s brood is adult! This has been a moment in time, so it isn’t so much an empty nest feeling as, yep, that new chapter feeling. I learned a lot of stuff this time.
The packing is a doddle now. The downsizing, which has effectively taken 7 years, bit by bit, finally pays off, and there appears to be surprisingly little to wrap and pack. Most of it is already done, all that is left is to find a place to place our heads……now let me see…….where to choose is the question……watch this space!
Nowhere is perfect, maybe even those places I dream about aren’t, but when I think about the variety I have to choose from here I am grateful. Sunrise or sunset? Ocean or mountains? Village or town? And all within reasonable travelling distance of where I am working.
Trixy knows as soon as the first packing case or suitcase comes out, but this one is confusing her a bit. People going. People coming. People going! Hoping to find somewhere with some good walks….I need ….we both need the exercise!
The Armas ferry leaving at sunset tonight, taken from our little front balcony. I have watched these boats coming and going so often over the last, eight months, if not into the sunset, then into the fresh, steely, early morning, or ploughing through the white caps of a churning sea. I never, ever watch without a tugging at my heart to be on one of them. Maybe a journey to another island is not so far, or maybe it could be the first of a thousand steps of a new journey in life.
This was 2009 for me. I am far too lazy these days to document every event, even in a year like this which seems to have been short on events, on fun even, so let the pictures speak their thousand words. Thinking about it now it seems like a year of disappointments, worries and frustrations, but when I look back over these fotos it doesn’t look half as bad! I have friends who have had a bl**dy awful year, so I am lucky mine was a build up of annoyances. Still, I won’t be sorry to see the back of it, as we used to say in NW England. It was the year my sons and I were together for the first time in seven years. Although busy with our separate lives there were moments of happiness in that for me.
As I sit here, watching the wind tugging at the palms, I am thinking about people far away. For the first time in seven years Guy is here for the holidays, but Austin is in the Caribbean, other friends are in Vietnam, South America, Thailand, various parts of the US and Canada, various parts of the UK, France, mainland Spain, and en route to Australia, ….and that is just off the top of my head. I am SO ready for an adventure I could cry!