The following is a collage of sensory experiences from my time away in Catalonia. Like any good trip, it has a soundtrack at it's heart. This was woven with the help of The Book's Lemon of Pink album.
07.19.18 The Lemon of Pink
“Take time. Take time.Take time.”
Watching spots of sun behind my eyelids. Feeling the breeze shift the satin of my skirt against my legs. Cooling the back of my neck with water from the roadside stream. Getting mud on my shoes. Watching a bee alight on my arm, mistaking my tattooed rose for a real flower, searching inked, unfurling petals for pollen. Marveling in the mirror at how brown the tips of my shoulders have gotten.
Being still enough to catch the things otherwise missed. Incredible things reveal themselves if you quiet what’s inside.
Sweating in the toasted sunlight. Helping our resident sculptress carry a giant log in a wheelbarrow up a crooked flight of stairs in unison, a person to a corner, making the burden light.
Feeling alright running in the darkness, feeling alright alone, exploring with bare feet that slap against grass and dirt, pebbles stuck between my toes. Myself as my companion. Myself to comfort me. Speaking the language of burbling creeks, damp moss, and butterflies circling each other between deep red trumpet flowers.
“All’s well that ends well. Well, well, well…”
Knowing you were wrong about what you thought you wanted, feeling the fever pitch reach its critical mass, uncoil, and come down into a bittersweet cognizance. Subconscious sliding into the forefront. Clicking into place. Being ok with how things played out. The tempest making way for a breeze.
Saying goodbye to many things. Pruning and cutting away at the old, leaving only the fresh shoots. Growing tough is not growing up. Because our greatest achievement is finding a way to be firm and soft, knowing where to bend your knees to soften the landing.
“I cry. I cry.”
Witnessing first-hand: infatuation, heartbreak, transfiguration, elation, togetherness. We all lost something before coming to this place, our wounds pinned brightly to our sleeves like yellow Catalonian ribbons. Unabashed by what ails us, making sure that everyone gets a glass of water and a shoulder to cry on. Falling asleep together on the bus back from the city. Huffing up the steep climb into town, griping about the heat. Washing dishes together, tucking the drunk into bed, talking late into the night, after the air has grown cold.
“Are we like major or minor anyway?”
Singing together in the dining room, trying to find the right key to our voices. People wandering in and adding themselves to the patchwork. Opening up the case of the old piano to change the timbre of its sound. Everyone forgetting the words to Don’t Speak, but moving through the song all the same, the words finding themselves on our lips the next day like wine stains.
“Keep your eyes closed. Close your eyes.”
Walking as slowly as you want, not in a rush to be anywhere. Thoughts in quiet spaces, ringing like empty rooms, stripped of their clutter. The knowledge that things could be different, you could be different, like so many tracks in the sand.
“The house knows,” the caretaker said to me while taking a drag from her fifth cigarette, her blue eyes twinkling, “And she will bite back if people bring their egos inside her.”
“The mind has a mind of its own.”
Our inner narrative play tricks on us, like shadows cast on a cave wall, bending and stretching what we perceive. But the body is still right here, lodged firmly in the present, breathing and pumping blood all the same.
To remember this is like rediscovering a lost limb, the one thrumming note that does not end or begin, but just is.
“The realization is better than the anticipation.”
Filling wrinkled sheets of paper, cover to cover, stained with coffee and rainwater. The weight of work done in my hands. Precious ink and love, filling, filling, filling up my heart to its brim. Knowing so much more is possible than I ever thought myself capable of doing.
“Thank you very much. And for now, sayonara.”
The laughter dies down, but when all of our eyes meet across the table, it bubbles up anew, signifying nothing and everything all at once.