Fruit of the Land and Sea

The height of the summer season has arrived. This year in Galicia we are experiencing unusual weather conditions. Mother Nature is playing all her hits with wind, rain and, yes, occasionally sun.

But that hasn’t stopped those with second family homes in the area from returning for the month of August. Usually sleepy, mid-week Melide is hopping these days. The Boa Festa (Good Party) street lights are strung across the road leading into town. In preparation for the scaled back concert and street parties of the Feast of the Assumption in mid-August. Right now, traffic is like Seattle during rush hour.

My favorite moment this morning was when Jeff tried to give me directions to avoid the crowds and find parking. All this in a town with one road that goes East/West. And another one that goes North/South. Sure, there are a few smaller side streets, but Lugo city seems like NYC by comparison.

‘Go anti-derecho.’ he tells me while pointing, in his slaughtered español.

‘You mean izquierda (left)’ I corrected, still trying to navigate while deciphering his logic.

‘It’s technically correcto. It’s the opposite of derecho.’

Now he’s a poet. Eye roll.

I have to give him credit, though. We are trying to speak more Spanish to each other. But it’s fraught with error. Thank god he already passed his Spanish driving test. 😳

Its no wonder no one in the area can untangle this language spaghetti when he speaks. Jeff was at the barbershop getting his hair cut last week and the Covid monitor popped in ‘to make sure the American understands the restrictions.’ I’m pretty sure that’s based on Jeff’s reputation as a Olympic gold medal linguistic gymnast. There are words. A lot of them. People here just aren’t quite sure he knows what they all mean.

Plentiful Pulpo

Moving on. This time of year, it’s pulpo season in Galicia. That’s octopus for the uninitiated. Not the measly deep fried calamari the Greeks do. Nope. This is the full meal deal. And I love it! There is a very famous pulpería restaurant in Melide. Pulpería Ezequiel. Both Pilgrims and locals stand in long lines to get one of the few covid-limited tables to sample this heavenly fruit of the sea. Jeff just watched me eat it from afar with his own patatas bravas.

Happy Little Pears

My next subjects

Back on the farm, our trees are starting to produce their fruit. Our first crop of pears has been picked, and they are glorious and tasty. And inspiring.

Nearly a year and a half after my dance with the devil of Covid, I am feeling much more myself. And after receiving both doses of the vaccine I feel even better. I know this because I’ve started painting again.

Painting has always informed my writing. Crafting scenes in my head while I put brush to canvas. But I also think it’s because painting is such an honest form of expression. With writing, you can tell a tall tale about places or people that only exist in imagination. You can pretend, or inhabit another persona. But when you paint, the brush keeps you honest. How you’re feeling comes out on the canvas. It’s why I have barely painted for the past year and a half. So much of the time they would have been dark, murky canvases. Losing taste and smell just made life flat and flavorless. But no more.

Picking the perfect pear from our overflowing pear trees got my creative juices flowing. I’m no Monet or Picasso, but it was nice taking up a brush again without expectations. Just seeing what came of it. And now I paint happy little pears. Bob Ross would be proud.

With the trees on our farm beginning to bear fruit, so has my imagination. Next up – Castañada trees (chestnut) with their furry bright green pods. I have some ideas on how to render them in an unusual way. And in just a few months, autumn and her colors should make our home a painter’s paradise. This may be a unusually cool summer in Galicia, but to me, the fruit it’s bearing has been worth all the rain.

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