Hey there folks,
Foremost, let us get one thing straight. Stop Googling me.
This asshole doesn’t look a thing like me:
Look there, that errant cigarette cocked so precariously to the wrong side. That messy mop of long blond locks lost unto themselves. How can that bedraggled devil wandering the dusty streets of Spain truly be the fellow you submit your essays to? And wine? Nonsense – I’m a red-blooded Swiss. I’ll have me a mighty fine beer any day.
Though I won’t say no to a nice Malbec. Or Chianti. Or any wine, really.
Fuck, I love wine.
For all my students who have a predisposition to Google my illustrious name, do be mindful that some huckster is masquerading as your eccentric English teacher. See the difference between the two photos? Come now; how could anyone be fooled in to thinking one handsome devil is portraying the other?
Alleged narcissism aside, let us focus upon the meat and potatoes of this sojourn into madness.
It’s one of those magical nights where the light of the moon is cast into a thousand directions by the foggy evening, where clouds disperse the waning celestial orb into a soft glow about the heavens, like a blanket of uneven, yet comforting, warmth. Diana herself could be on the hunt tonight.
I find it difficult to believe Spring is already here in Her glorious incandescence, but the chill of the night wind reminds me that She is still soft in coming. There – a flash of lightning. Good gods; and I’m sitting out here perched beneath a dead juniper typing away like a madman. If I am struck by the heavens, let it be said I died in bliss.
Over the sounds of melodic metal, I can hear the roar of thunder growing on the horizon. Rain will soon strike this parched earth like the spear of Achilles. Another flash, the sky outshining the cherry poised inches from my mouth. Soon a tumultuous downpour will force me and my infernal modern devices into the confines and comfort of habitation. Until then I shall enjoy my plumes of whispery smoke and e’er chilled spirits in the bosom of an ever-reclusive Gaia.
It reminds me of San Salvador, where in the grips of physical and emotional agony, I found succor. Ah, pain! How it is the most beautiful reminder of being alive! Even now – three years on – my knee flairs up in abject misery, a Siren of what once was. And, comrades, shall be again in two months’ time.
At the close of June, after bidding adieu to my younger brother and his latest deployment, once more shall I find myself upon the Way. Madrid to Leon. Leon to Oveido. Oveido to Santiago. All the while – damned sinner that I am – making amends at every church and abbey I stumble across in an attempt to secure safe passage for that young fop as he masquerades soldier. The gods will be with him: they always are.
Another flash. The air seems chilled, cooler than the Mexican beer gracing my gut, smoother than every exhalation of puffed cancer laced in every breath. For the briefest of moments, I see the keys I pound away upon, I hear the rumbles of Thor and Zeus in the sky, I grip the realization that I am mortal. And I rejoice in every mote of cosmic self-understanding.
He’s mad, I hear them whisper. He’s absolutely lost it.
Yet a madman does not understand his madness; what is it when they do?
Oh, comrades, yes, I am very much aware of who and what I am. Here, in the chilled embrace of Mother Nature (eviscerated as She is within city limits) one can come to grips with their mortal coil and appreciate the immortal soul all in a single setting. As I’ve oft told my charges during my many ranting lectures: I know exactly what I am. Who are you?
Here, upon the stench of burning ozone with each thunder crackle, with every crunching step upon long-dead grass, with every breeze stinging my face with Nature’s offal, one can truly live.
And that! That, goddammit, is living. To be aware. To appreciate that which is taken for granted by so many sad sacks who merely exist day to day, breathing and wasting our valuable oxygen, who pursue dollar signs in a feeble attempt to capture happiness – full-throttle, by the throat – and ne’er once realize that a single moment of stepping back, smelling the filth and Life upon the wind, one might truly exist with purpose.
Purpose, yes. That word.
A crack loud enough to shatter Mjolnir itself – the reverberations shake the very table I claim as my monk’s tabula rasa. The stars have long fled in silent subjugation, unwilling to witness the fury of Heaven, yet here I remain – a mere mortal – delighting in the violence of knowing. Ash from my dangling lip is blown upon the keyboard, but what Nature makes She can easily undo; a quiet breeze purifies us both.
There. The first drop. Now the second. Third. A million blessings poured out from the night sky unto a would-be writer who merely exists to make sense of existence. Like vermin I am forced to continue inside, in the safety of materialism and rancor, finding the outside world inhospitable to my teachings and learnings.
“You stand in my shade,” I say to the downpour. “Move aside.”
Mad as I am, I am no Diogenes.
She continues to wet Herself, Alexander be damned.
2 thoughts on “The Purification of Rain”
Bruno: just catching up on your blog and remembering why I enjoy reading it so much. So excited you’re heading back to Spain this summer. Jealous too. A good friend of mine is just finishing his camino and I can’t believe it’s been six years since my wife and I bailed out in Leon, vowing to return again to finish someday. That someday may be next year as i hope to retire. Or at least work a lot less.
Are you walking from Madrid to Leon? I’ll have to look up that route. In any event please continue your writings about events big and small. And more importantly your thoughts about them. Buon Camino!
Michael, good to hear from you!
If all goes well, the plan this year is to march from Madrid to Leon. From what (little) research I’ve conducted, the Way is relatively well-marked and quite akin to my New Mexico dwelling: flat, hot, dusty, and long.
I plan on bringing the travel lappy with me to blog about my shenanigans, so check back on the reg as I start posting all that nonsense.
And congrats on the soon-to-be-ushered-in retirement! Leon still remains, as does the Way. You and the missus will find yourselves out there afore too long.