A Walk Through Evening in Northern Spain

The weather this past week has been crazy. Pouring showers of rain, warm temps paired with icy, roaring winds. Even today. Today was cold morning, windy afternoon, and beautiful, mild evening.

So I went for a walk. Something that I’ve always liked to do. To clear my head. To shake off the cobwebs of a sleepy Monday. Spain at sunset listening to this song.

My Spain.

The sun will set at 6:49 tonight, and the mountains are still lit with what’s left of it. A shadow thrown, but the ragged pull and color of them still beautiful. Still visible.

The path is cluttered with grandmothers in pairs, their hair and make-up still fresh from the day, at strange contrast with their walking shoes and puffy jackets. It’s far too mild for puffy jackets. My own sweatshirt flutters in the soft breeze. Smells like Spring. Smells like wet earth and decaying leaves and smoke. Someone burning firewood in the distance.

The houses are jagged cuts of clay and wood and clattered roofs. There are buildings that are falling apart, tiles crushed underfoot, blending in the with the waist high grasses and low olive trees. The earth has been churned around them, beat up from solid clay to socializing clumps that shudder slightly in the breeze.

The light is falling, dark clouds pulling at the horizon, the mountains to the left, rimmed with a delicate, light pink, darker clouds passing along their surface. Mountains to my left, the road with coming headlights to my right, all covered in the gray of failing light. Gnats weave drunkenly above my head. I keep moving. Just ahead there is a strange sound, a clanging of copper bells, and as I come around the corner a field of sheep appear. An old man stands with a leather bag, a stick-whip tucked beneath his arm. A ragged mutt lays beside him, heavy and thick, watching the sheep nudge and eat their way through the muck and branches and weeds of the small plot of land.

I’ve never seen sheep here before. In fact, I rarely see anything but the birds, barking dogs, and the odd horse being ridden in the distance.

A man arrives home for the day, stepping out of his beat-up van to slide his gate open. He whistles and four dogs come barreling out of a rickety shed at the edge of the property, carrying on in joy at his arrival. He whistles again and picks up buckets, laden with whatever is inside them. They follow him, unconcerned with the passing of myself and two others as we make our way farther away from the lights of the city and deeper into the fading light.

Past the Roman ruins, stationed like slumbering bears along the side of the road, past the fire station, a burnished red, a basketball hoop laid on its side in the fenced-in courtyard. The road falls away as the fields open up. Fields of low olive trees, shriveled vines still dormant in the winter, brambles and fallen land that makes no promises for summer. It’s quiet. The moon is half full high above. The sun has dipped, and just the light illuminating from behind the mountains remains, burning more and more pink as the minutes pass.

A man runs by, capturing the last of the strangely warm evening.

I stand still. Staring at the sunlight. At the small clay huts in the distance that are in disarray but still used for the odd break or two when gathering and tending to the fields. At the rotating windmills high on the hills, turning like kites caught in the draft, but where I stand just a steady, soft wind blows.

The music in my headphones reaches an end. Silence, then the high pitched song of a bird sounds, joined by a rushing of the high grasses around me, the distant barking of a dog as I’m sure another being passes in the coming night.

I turn around, the sunset at my back, the lights just turning on in the city, the moon hanging high above it all. This small piece of Spain.