In Practice, Production on June 13, 2013 at 10:27 am
I should be running down by the water this morning, or at least walking faster, but I just have to slow down to look around. Everything is exceptional today – a great mixed sky like an oil painting, the cloud cover overhead breaking up in the east where the sun rises and graduating westward to a dull gloom which hangs low over the water, the whole sweep of it culminating in a funnel about a kilometre out where rainfall engulfs a short line of fishing vessels and their orange-buoyed nets.
Up past the sports field the spring flowers have gone to seed and their vibrant yellows and purples are beginning to recede into the dustier, dry grass hues of high summer. It’s very early and very quiet – quiet enough to hear the fish break surface in the river and for a few rabbits to linger in the open. A long-legged spider crosses the wooden walkway, pausing as I pass.
I go as far as the old military bunker and then cut across onto the sand. About two kilometres up the coast, the rock promontory of San Bartolome is lit up in a pin point shaft of sunlight that cantilevers its way in over an adjacent hilltop and illuminates the cliffs with precision. The sea is almost as calm as the river today, lazy waves yawning and sighing their way in and out over the sand. A few footprints, a few paw prints, the island like a surfaced submarine, the mountains of Morocco behind it; it’s a clear day and I can see deep into them.
This is a place that makes you feel More
In Presentation, Production on November 2, 2011 at 9:49 am
Don Quixote is dead. The wise fool has recovered his reason and died in bed, surrounded by loved ones weeping. I shed a tear or two myself as I turn the final page. Then I resolve to do something quixotic today; I will walk to the tower!
On a promontory further up the coast the Torre de Guadalmesi edges its way into view after an hour or so of hiking from the little town of Tarifa. It looks close. It isn’t. Under the impression that it is, I follow the curves and gradients of the path as it runs along the Mediterranean. This is the now defunct road to Algeciras – a highway through the Spain of knights and bandits, Christians and Moors.
I come to a stretch of the old byway which is shaded and sheltered on the coastal side by a rock wall that protrudes from the ground to a height of about two metres and it dawns on me that, even in the absence of any paving or marks to evidence it, the road must always have gone this way; it’s the only rational – possible – choice right here. I may never have been on a road as old and with as much certainty. Thousands of years at least, and who knows how many thousands have passed this way, till it was abandoned in favour of more modern highways further inland, once engineering had made them possible. More
In Plenary, Practice on October 10, 2010 at 1:10 pm
K will be here in less than two weeks and I realise now that the Tarifa that will welcome her will not be the one that welcomed me, two months previously. It is already quieter than it was when I arrived in August at the height of its booming tourist season. I was stepping over surfers in the street at the time and every night was a noisy affair, the little squares filled with tables and chatty diners; the bars pulsing to house, hip hop and jazz.
Already a number of outlets have closed – the wifi place at the top of my street that always seemed to be both staffed and patronised by the English, a boutique on the same street that sold clothes which I imagine would be classified as “shabby chic” for horrendous prices More