the great leap east

I think I did not make quite clear in my last post that, not only have we set a date for our departure, we have bought plane tickets that obligate us to exit the country on that date. We are officially, definitely, non-refundably committed to moving to Berlin. Everyone can breathe now.

In other news, it is mid-June, high tourist season, high terrace season, high beach season…and very rainy. It has been rainy for days, and when it’s not raining, it’s menacingly threatening to downpour at any moment, and subsequently wrapping us in a heat- and moisture- trapping blanket of clouds. In other words, it is very uncomfortable.

Tonight, on this cool, windy, rainy night, it is the perfect time to curl up with a cup of tea (or pipe) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It is a light rain, which, while bothersome, is not destructive or mean or intrusive. It taps lightly on the roof and trickles quietly down the window, making it all the more inviting to stay home and on the couch.

It makes me think, however, of those other rains, the wild, unrelenting winter rains, which are always accompanied by whipping winds and blistering cold, making it not only very unpleasant to leave the house, but some days, quite impossible. Many an innocent umbrella has succumbed to its unforgiving wrath. I think how much I dread walking to class in the winter, even equipped with rain boots, a tough umbrella (which just finally died this week…RIP), a warm coat, and the sheltering overhang of the city streets. But how did they do it back then? Back when the Celts first arrived to Galicia (assuredly, an even more savage and malicious Galicia) so many centuries ago, armed only with animal furs (albeit very warm ones) and thatch-roofed houses? How did they stay here in this solitary forest, so dark and lonely? How did they farm as the wind stung their faces and the rain poured down? How did they travel so far by foot without a place to stay for the night, without a dry bed, a warm fire, and a hot meal? How did they survive out at sea, when the shores are so foreboding and even the name (la costa da morte – the death coast) draws fear, where so many sailors have met a sad fate, and so many ships lie hidden below, ravaged to pieces against rocky shores? Why did they venture ahead when even the mighty Romans, upon arriving here thousands of years ago, decided that this must be the end of the world and turned back around? It always fascinates me that this place, after so many years, remains inhabited in spite of its unfortunate weather, its dark legends and superstitions, its dangerous forests, and its isolation from the rest of the world. It must be something special.

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