How I need the rhythm. From listening to my heart, literally finger on pulse when my head begins to bully, to the familiarities, smiles and constancy of Priorat community and nature.
I find such comfort in this rural alchemy, when sometimes – often - it seems they have turned the lead of surviving into the gold of living sustaining, truthful lives. Am I a romantic? No. Just someone who struggles with my bitterness at human primitiveness and dishonesty but who fell in love a long time ago with trust, home, truth and the tangible.
The butcher nurses his coffee in the vegan café and beams. The baker will always break off a bread stick for a child. Injustice will weld people shoulder to shoulder. Time given will always be given back. Death is stared full in the face. Laughter is watered. The table is the heart. The weave shines with the golden threads of seniors and toddlers. Children know the simple rules, the collective pace and values, and hence are all the freer to find their feet and themselves in what can sometimes seem a dystopian world.
It is a circle, both inward and outward looking in equal measure, a welcoming one, a security as much as any that can be found, I reckon, and one that patterns the globe. These circles matter so so much. Laced together, overlapping, with wider understanding and trust, they are life at its most fulfilling. Giving communities the means and support to keep the circle has never been more crucial.
We beetled into town last night for a concert in the theatre. The time printed on the tickets was wrong, but word got around. The Christmas lights were up. The man on the hill by the roundabout had for the umpteenth time draped his house in blue neon, visible in Aragon, identical to the piercing blue of police car lights, and hence doing a fine job of slowing the traffic on the N420.
The concert had sold out immediately, the crowning moment of a run of performances to imbue everyone present with the force of the now, living in the moment. That is the magic of live art, theatre and music, as rich in Catalonia as anywhere I have been. And the wisdom of making it possible some distance from so-called cultural capitals is to be lauded to the hilt.
What the Generalitat and other supporters and local businesses had the good sense to do was to recognise the ambition, creativity and need of community. That is sustenance.
It was always going to be unforgettable. We were listening and watching Andrea Motis, voice & trumpet, Joan Chamorro, bass, Ignasi Terraza, piano, Josep Traver, guitar, and Esteve Pi, drums.
Words almost fail me at this point. They were out of this world.
We joined the crush in the theatre hallway and reception area for a glass of still white wine, the audience fizzing with appreciation. Through the exit doors we could see the stage. Esteve Pi, one of the world’s greatest jazz drummers, was beaming, surrounded by children of all ages. He was allowing them to bang on his drum kit. He was home in the town where he grew up, home among family and friends, so very much in the moment.