South of Summer
On the road to Winter
Morning is always a time that almost begs to be taken advantage of. Of course, with age, mornings are easier to take advantage of and, when the discipline of getting up early to earn a living has etched itself on the psyche like an ancient canyon on the face of Mars, it’s difficult not to resist the call and move into action. For me, weekends have always been a time to lie in, to rest the eyelids a little longer and to breakfast at a leisurely pace whilst reading the newspapers.
But then I found the lagoon. Originally a reservoir for the village to take advantage of the abundant supply of water in these parts, the lagoon forms a central showpiece of the village in which we had bought our house. Of course, I knew it was there and knew also that it was open to anyone who wanted to swim in it. The problem had been that it always seemed to be so busy, full of people I didn’t know, full of noise and activity so typical of Spanish life and with discarded pieces of sandwiches suddenly making a slippery appearance under naked feet. It was altogether a little too popular for my liking. What I didn’t know was that during the first few hours of the morning, just as the sun was reaching its maximum candlepower, the lagoon and the area around it were completely empty. I should have realised that most people, like me, are creatures of habit and that early mornings are essential for preparing to face the day.
More importantly perhaps, mornings and kids don’t mix and I knew that getting them ready to leave the house can be more complicated than organizing a Royal garden party. So, when my daughter came to visit, her natural desire to expose her cream-protected skin to the sun whilst lying next to water was what galvanised me and we decided to go to the lagoon on a Saturday at mid-morning. Arriving early, we noted that the only living beings enjoying the mirror-like surface of the water were the swallows that, with dazzling displays of acrobatic flying ability, flashed down in complicated spirals and levelled out at exactly the correct height, beak open to scoop a drop of water from the glass-table surface.
And in the summer, the lagoon provides a natural backdrop to village activities and events. A catwalk is extended out across the tranquil waters to show regional flamenco dresses. Smiling, beautiful models walk up and down while coloured lights reflect in ripples across white-washed walls and a synchronized swimming display flowers and folds; supple rhythm in time to the vibration of loudspeakers that thunder out the latest hits.
But now, of a morning, when no one is here and when the sun is still cool enough to enjoy the open space without having to scuttle under the protecting shade of the pine trees, is the time to really relax, to feel the all-encompassing watery sheath of refreshing, crystal clear mountain water close around your body in a sensual embrace.