After returning from my six week Camino in May. And two weeks of a visit from my worst houseguest ever, Covid, I headed out to our greenhouse out back, after a big wind storm. Uh oh.
The greenhouse was destroyed. And the plants inside? Well, let’s just say that Jeff had forgotten to water them while I was away. Two months without water will kill the heartiest of plants. and these were plants I had on the terrace in Valencia.
My lovely pomegranate, olive, and kumquat trees were clearly dead. I was so sad. They were the very first plants I bought 4years before when we first moved to Spain. We couldn’t have a pet in el Compartimento, and my need for caring for live things had to be sated by these plants. When we almost bought that house on the Portugal coast – staying there for two months – the trees were in the car when we crossed the border. So, seeing them completely dried up broke my heart. That pomegranate inspired my painting.
I pulled them out and stuck them behind the house. I would reuse the pots. One day, as I was replanting my window boxes with geraniums, I noticed a bit of green on the pomegranate. Just a few hints of green on the stem. So, I started watering all three trees. Lo and behold, they were not dead. Just sleeping. Waiting for a little love. I still have plenty to give, and that pomegranate surprised me by bearing more blossoms this year than ever before. I will have a bush of pomegranates later this fall. A great reminder than you can’t summarily count out even seemingly hopeless cases. Plants, and people, will often surprise you.
My Second Act…
If we live long enough, and are healthy, we all have the opportunity for second acts. Or, even third or fourth ones. Reinvention is the new black. A mixed fashion metaphor, I know.
A few days ago, I met a lovely Belgian girl. She showed up in the afternoon and ordered…wait for it. A Belgian waffle. She had walked from Le Puy in France. Nearly 1600kms. We got to talking and she spoke about what she learned on the walk. It started when she ended a 9 year relationship and quit her job. At loose ends, she started walking.
‘I don’t want to do what I trained for, anymore. I want to discover what inspires me. And do that.’
She talked about the support she had from her Mom to go out and find herself.
‘My Mom is in a gilded cage, she calls it. Making too much money to quit. And yet, she is not happy doing it. Her passion is elsewhere.’
Been there, done that. How wonderful it is her mother isn’t insisting she ‘be practical’ or ‘suck it up’. Her mother is clearly inspiring her.
We had a long conversation – maybe two hours – between customers. She told me her story and she asked about me ending up here. When she left, I didn’t wish her Buen Camino. I sent her off with ‘I hope you discover your passion, and are happy.’🙏 She smiled and said ‘You, too.’
And, of course, that is my focus now. I love what I am doing with the food truck, and our bigger plans. But, it’s my writing that inspires me and sets my heart afire. Its between customers in the afternoons and after I close up that I write. And now, I have another fun little project.
Just The Facts
As a kid, my friends and I used to produce our own newspaper. And, when I was in high school, I was the editor of our school newspaper, and the editor of the yearbook. Traveling the world as an journalist was a dream I had held for a long time. But, when I went to college, my Great Depression-era parents encouraged a more practical approach. I needed to study something where I could make money. A back up plan. But, as it usually does, the back up plan becomes The Plan. Because the money is there. And very soon, the dream is a distant memory. So entrenched in the mists, we can hardly tell it was ever there, at all. But our heart and soul never forgets.
Five years ago, I started writing this blog. And my first novel. Then, I wrote a second novel and I kept writing the blog. Recently, I was asked by an organization called Age in Spain, to write their column for The Euro Weekly News – Spain’s leading English language newspaper.
Age in Spain is a charity who helps English speakers access services and navigate Spanish law and the bureaucracy. Especially, post Brexit. They are staffed with a cadre of volunteers who answer questions, provide emotional support to combat elder loneliness, and help english speakers live independently for longer in Spain. All, so they can lead fuller lives as they, well, get older and age in Spain. A great organization. Age in Spain have a monthly column in the Euro Weekly News and they asked if I could write topical columns in an engaging, or perhaps funny way. And I said ‘Absolutely Not! What? Do you think I am old?!? Ha! Actually, I was honored to be asked and thrilled to write for them.
Now, don’t get too excited. I won’t be scooping CNN on arms dealing on the Med. Or beating the BBC to the next big corruption scandal of the ongoing energy crisis. Or reporting from a humanitarian catastrophe in Africa. All my journalistic dreams as a teenager. But, this column is right in my wheelhouse. I can do hilarious and engaging. Certainly, in regards to living in Spain. And, I get to help a great organization engage with their target audience and get their message out so people get the help they need. Everyone wins!
I may not be a 30 year old blond Belgian beauty, but my second act, ok, maybe my 3rd, is in full swing. Just like my plucky little pomegranate tree, it’s not over quite yet. It seems I can still bear fruit. And, I’m just getting started.