a wandering woman writes

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Pueblo out of time?

Too often we forget humans can be part of Nature's song, can dance with the music as well as drown it out. I believe, as Lawrence Durrell once wrote of France, that if you were to wipe it bare of life and start over again, in due course, Nature there would give you, once again, essential Frenchmen, surely as she would a good Bordeaux. Just so Smith Island, where the spirits of place are strong indeed.

...The Bay never essayed truer, nor flowered more gloriously, than in its creation of Smith Island and Smith Islanders. . . places like the island are art--made all the more artful for contriving nothing, for simply being.

Tom Horton
from the book: Island out of time

This gem has been sitting in my draft folder for a couple of weeks. I've yet to read the book it's taken from; I chased down Tom Horton when I received an invitation to a writing workshop he was co-teaching on Smith Island in Maryland and soon snapped up this lovely excerpt.

Ortizzle's comment today on my Music of Time post has motivated me to finally post it. She muses in the comment box about what tales the walls of old houses in Galicia might tell.

The quote made me think of La Alberca when I read it, but it could just as well be lots of villages, couldn't it? In Europe, or elsewhere. Or neighborhoods in Chicago.

There are places that so eloquently remind me that we become part of the places we live. We bring them to life, perhaps literally, leaving our hopes and dreams and fears in the fabric of the place, stuck in the sidewalk with the cobblestones. People make places art.

As I prepared to title this post "Pueblo Out of Time" a couple of weeks back, it hit me that La Alberca is a pueblo very much in time: alive, prosperous, full of children, with an in-town school and construction and new businesses all through town. A pueblo famous for enthusiastically and faithfully continuing to practice its centuries old traditions, La Alberca has found a way (rural tourism) to prosper in the 21st century. Perhaps as a result, it is a warm and welcoming place to visit.

Somehow I suspect Nature would remake both town and townspeople just as they are - time and time again.

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  • Oh La Alberca...oh you had to do this, didn't you? I can just taste those grilled morcilla and onion sandwiches now...and OH! those windows...and doors.
    Now you have gone and made me homesick.
    And I know that "homesick" doesn't really make sense but that's how this picture makes me feel so there I said it.

    By Anonymous Laura Young, at 1:10 AM  

  • Hi wandering woman,
    I've written to you once before - I studied abroad in Salamanca and miss it terribly! I went to Alberca and was just mesmerized...without going there and to other small villages, you forget that little self-contained worlds exist (since I'm used to NYC). I love your blog! It inspires me to travel back to Spain and live in Salamanca some day too.

    By Blogger Tammy, at 2:02 PM  

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