Sunday, November 22, 2009


I walk amidst the leaves of autumn in familiar Virginia again, having left just 3 short months ago. No more horizon with mountain peaks out my front door, no more almond and olive groves to climb through, no more Seth and proper British ways, no more enthusiastic Spaniards speaking rapidly to me. My time in Spain is definitely over. That reality must have crept in over night last night, like a large looming rain cloud, because today, day 6 of being home, is the hardest.

As expected, it doesn't seem real. I took a grand leap in my artistic life and am on the other side of the chasm now. I thought, as I sat on the plane on Monday, that I would wake up on Tuesday morning, in my very own bed, and imagine I dreamt the entire experience, a long, elaborate and wonderful dream. It does feel like that now ... though when I woke on Tuesday morning my first thought was, how do I get to the bathroom!?

I went through all of the motions of leaving: packing, cleaning, stripping the bed, saying Adios to people and places, but I couldn't comprehend not being there anymore. At 3am on Monday morning I walked into the courtyard, through the antique wooden door ornately carved by a Spaniard years ago, passed the garage where Seth keeps his "girlfriend" (An antique car, the Morris 8), passed the ruins of old goat stalls, passed the empty river bed which gleamed in the dark with it's white stones, bent beyond the cliff and out of sight, to the red Spanish van I learned to love and hate.

As we drove out of Masia Albadas in the dark, my mind flooded with the things I would miss most. I thought of my walk to work each day, down the stone stairs I so meticulously weeded, crumbling and uneven, passed the newly jacketed kiln, passed discarded pots and into a dirt and stone floored wonderful mess.

I thought of the work that I had come to learn, work which energizes and exhausts, work which brings each customer a period, even if its just a brief moment, of contemplation - that life is more than your 9-5, life is more than greyscale predictability, that we are more than ants scuttling from place to place.

We can touch, smell, taste, feel, and see such a range and variety that even with the awareness of thousands of years of human creativity we still have the urge to create, share, and try to communicate with each other what is beauty and goodness and what is not.

To ignore this is to isolate ourselves, a very unnatural and spirit crushing mental state. Modernity has made it easier and cheaper to surround ourselves with factory produced 'beauty' but the lack of human touch in the objects is akin to a human with no contact, an ultimately stoney and cold thing. It evaporates the potential for long lasting beauty.

I have many things to share and stories to tell but for now, for today, thank you for reading. Thank you for learning along with me what it means to share, to enjoy, and to appreciate the rugged beauty in human creativity and creation.


  1. Sarah, thank you for allowing us to share the journey ... a little bit.

    We saw the Terra Cotta Warriors yesterday at Nat Geographic. You MUST go -- the methods of building and firing GIANT clay people and horses are fascinating, and largely unchanged over time!

    As for your missing Spain, that's so normal. As military kids, every time we moved we cried for the place we had just matter how much we thought we loved/hated the new place, we'd always cry again when we had to move on. It's part of growth. And your experience there was VERY special and will always serve to educate you in many non-tangible ways. Savor it.

  2. Thelma...We had one hell of a time girl, a lot of happy memories - a lot of laughs - a lot fun - and adventures too...I am up for more any time...just pack the Marmite and we can do another road trip!
    loves ya...Louise