Sunday, 14 March 2010

Disappearing mulberry trees and a broken toe.

There aren't many days in my life when I feel like a deflated balloon, but yesterday, Saturday, was one. It started on Wednesday actually, with two minor car accidents, but it took until Saturday for me to realize I was in bad shape. A broken toe, toothache and a feeing of uncertainty culminated in a bit of a nightmare. But as with all nightmares, we always wake up to ... in this case, to a bright new day ! !Si Senor! ( no little do- dah's or accents available with this programme, sorry Jeni!)

Peter Ustinov once said of his mother- in- law that "she didn't know what she thought until she'd heard what she'd said." I remember thinking at the time that I often don't know precisely what I think until I seen what I've written. Writing has become my way of burrowing out of confusion, or pain, or negativity. And I've had a dollop of all three since Wednesday! So, I decided to write to a friend about these misadventures, and out of that came this blog.

I've been so busy trying to get the house ship shape for my Danish Retreat guest arriving on Saturday, that I haven't been looking after myself properly. I had a minor accident in my car, two actually, the second on Wednesday, the result being my body went into a bit of shock. A lot of shock actually, though I didn't realize this at the time. I was too busy being busy to notice.

Also on Wednesday, I'd run out of wood so had to collect more in my car from our local town a half hour's down the mountain. Olive wood is the main source of heating for most mountain homes in this part of Spain. My usual source had dried up, well not so much dried up as seized up because the dirt track the woodman takes(with his tractor) to reach me, collapsed due to the storms in December.
So, on returning home from collecting the new wood, after a day doing 101 things, I tried to drive my car down the narrow track to my house, in the dark, rather than tip it all out at the top of the road and wheel -barrow it down. The wood weighs a ton. Normally I leave my car beside the church. I drive this track only about three times a year, it's so nail bitingly narrow in places with a huge drop of about 30 feet in some places.
Part of the bank on the right side of the track collapsed weeks ago bringing down the two beautiful ancient mulberry trees, but my neighbor still drives his car up and down every day, so it's passable.
Unfortunately, more stones had fallen onto the track during the day. I saw them, misjudged the space, and drove smack bang into them. An attempt to reverse made the situation much worse. The back wheel was inches from the six foot drop into the field below where Antonio's mule often grazes, and a new part of the track instantly collapsed right behind me.

I felt completely and utterly desperate for a few moments.

Loli's twelve year old son came to my rescue. He phoned his mother who was at the bottom of the village visiting her beloved father, as is the family custom every single evening of the year, and she dispatched middle son Ernest aged 22 , who quickly turned into my hero. Within minutes Ernest had disentangled the car and reversed it with, I have to say, a few terrible noises. Then he drove straight to my front door, unloaded the wood, turned the car around, no mean feet, then drove her back to the plaza where she sat for the next 24 hours, no doubt as physically bruised and her owners emotions. I didn't go to inspect the damage.
It all happened so quickly that by the time Loli and her husband arrived on the scene, the drama was over. I was inside my house, quaking, making hot chocolate. The next day every single pebble, stone, and boulder had been cleared from the track. And the next day, unexpectedly, elderly, farmer Pepe arrived with a basket full of acelga ( it's like spinach), and later the same day Miguel the goat man arrived with a huge clump of wild herbs for me. My kitchen table was a sight for sore eyes, and my heart was truly warmed.

Then yesterday ,with the guest due in the evening, and so many things still to do, I jumped out of bed and crashed straight into my easel. I whacked my toes so hard on its base, that I've smashed one small toe. The poor little thing is now rigid, such a funny shape and the colour of stewed, red, plums.

Finally, yesterday afternoon, with everything ready for the Danish guest, I whiz down the mountain to Orgiva to collect her from the 6pm bus direct from Malaga. She's not on it. Nor on the next , nor the next.

The drive home is my worst ever experience,weather- wise. The mist although absolutely beautiful, sweeps down over the mountain peaks and hides the white guiding line on the side of the road. The mist gets thicker the higher I drive. A new aging problem with my elderly car is that mist (condensation) also appears inside my car on the windscreen from time to time, and this makes driving really tricky. There are some treacherous bits of the road due to rock falls, mudslides, and landslides, and there are places where the road simply has cracked open and fallen down the mountain, or created huge holes. I'm cross with myself because I don't know how this misunderstanding with the guest could have happened. I've a sneaky feeling I may have got the date wrong.

Back home,a quick check with the email and yes, it was my mistake. She's due today, Sunday, I got the day wrong. But, how could I ?

All of this means I now have a full day to rest in my very tidy house, enjoy the moment which is now stress free and calm, and send loving thoughts to my toe which wants attention.
The sun came out this morning as I stared to write. All is well now that I see the bigger picture. I'm reminded to practice what I teach: look after mind, body,and spirit, if we ignore one, imbalance brings its little teachers.


I'm thinking daily of my friends in Chile who are dealing with huge life changing challenges after so many earthquakes, they call them after shocks, but they're more earthquakes I'm told.
And Chile now with a new president,inaugurated during an after shock. My prayer is that he will cope creatively and compassionately like his much respected predecessor Michelle Bachelet.
I was going to write about Chile in the blog this month, about the epicenter of the quake , where I've been and have friends . I will write about it soon. I'm planning to post a blog once a month now.

Please forgive me for talking so much about myself this month; the plum colored toe,the absentmindedness, and the night the car got stuck where the old mulberry tree used to be. Out village is full of kindness. What a privilege it is to live here.

Happy St Paddy's day to everybody who loves Ireland.