The Fish

I return from walking the dogs (I’m house/dog sitting again) feeling like a fish in an over-heated pond.

It’s 11 am and there’s a bag hanging from the door handle. While the dogs run for the water bowl, I discover a gift of sweet plums.

At 12, the waft of cologne announces an elderly gentleman from the village. I invite the mystery bearer of gifts inside and talk in broken down Spanish. When a wheel falls off I open the translator but he’s no mechanic. He’s a musician, a poet, and takes paper in hand. Ciruelo: para comerlos 1. lavar las y la piel setira con el hueso.

It’s 2 pm and he’s wearing a freshly-washed shirt. He places almonds on the table. ‘Son de mi arbol’ he announces showing a good set of teeth. He mimes that they are for eating, that I need to crack the hard shells. I show him my hammer before he leaves.

By 3pm I’m thinking about lunch, just like most of the Spanish population, but I’m wilting. Perhaps I’ll eat the plums. ‘Henne?’ comes the version of my name in castellano from beyond the plastic fringes at the doorway. ‘Entrer,’ I reply in mistaken French.

He places the hot silver-foil package and cold can of beer on the table, then disappears into the afternoon.

P.S. I’m vegetarian.

Yikes! I ate the fish!

… Global temperatures are higher than ever recorded. I’m worried. But I figure that the only way we’re going to get through this cataclysmic era is to connect with people and smile as we step lightly.

The Dog

This was going to be a story about sandals, weaving in the importance of recycling and keeping stuff out of landfill but the dog got in the way. He’s not mine. I don’t like the idea of owning an animal but it seems that he likes the idea of owning me. His person is away and I’m doing the feeding and walking so I have become the love of his life.

This week we took to the mountains when the heat of the day had dropped a degree or two. ‘Climate change’, I told him. ‘Walk!’ he replied. So we did.

Yesterday I crossed the range, up, down and across the rocky terrain until I came to the village of Pitres. Lucky followed me, in spite of every trick I had to make him stay. He raced along the roman paths, played in the stream and chased lizards amongst the medicinal herbs and dried grasses of the Alpujarra. It was the perfect dog day until his luck ran out. I put out my thumb and when the first car stopped I left him there. (Remember, I had tried love, my best communication skills, then insults and even throwing stones to avoid this moment of abandonment.)

Today I returned, tired after hitch-hiking in forty degrees heat. ‘Climate change,’ I told the driver. ‘Si, cambio climatico,’ he agreed.

And there was Lucky. In the plaza… waiting.

Stepping Lightly

Being truly, madly and passionately in Love with the Earth takes a bold and beautiful soul.

It was an idea. That was all. Why not? Everyone else was doing it. Perhaps that was good enough reason not to. But Climate Change was kicking in big time. How could I travel and still step lightly on the Planet?