Orgiva, 26th January 2018
It is beautifully bright this morning and my phone says it’s eight degrees but it feels much colder. I am huddling under a duvet and a thick wool rug in this tomb cold hostel, and unless I go to the hassle of putting my socks and shoes on I am going to have to nip down the ice tiled corridor to the loo in my bare feet.
Winter is short out here and not too severe. People, at least the ones in the South of Spain, just seem to endure it without going to the hassle of installing central heating. They stand in lines at the bars, keeping their coats on and huddling together, the energy of their dialogue warming their bodies and the entire bar. I am taking it easy today as I walked for more than eight glorious hours yesterday, a most exhilarating walk where I had a nowhere-near-death-experience that scared the living daylights out of me. I was walking the mountain path from Canar back to Orgiva when the mountainside fell away steeply to the right and dropped many hundreds of feet into a gorge below. The footpath, if you could give it such a grand title, was barely visible along the edge of this gorge but not for a minute did I think of turning back, even though my legs were like jelly and my heart was thumping like a teenage boy’s hatch-back. I took this photo from the other side just after I did a little dance to celebrate remaining alive!
After seven hours of walking and still a while to go before I reached Orgiva, I found myself on the road. Even before I got out my hitchhiking sign, a battered red VW transporter van pulled up alongside me and a thickly accented voice asked if I wanted a lift. At this stage I didn’t really care where he was going, I just needed to sit down for a while. I was profuse in my thanks and beamed at him in gratitude. We chatted as we rattled along and soon he turned off the main road and onto the rougher road that led to Bayacas, a settlement a mile or so from Orgiva. His name was Harald and he was an Austrian with huge blue eyes that sparkled and rolled in a very comical and endearing way. He stopped the van disappointingly soon but we chatted for a few more minutes, time enough for me understand that he was a very unusual human being. He seemed both highly intelligent and ridiculous at the same time and we immediately connected in laughter. We hugged as we parted and as I walked off towards Orgiva he called, “I suppose first time is not too soon for a kissing on lips!” I laughed and continued to walk, leaving him behind. After a few moments I suddenly felt a sharp stab of regret that I hadn’t returned and given him a kiss, and blessed him with a, “Namaste,” the divine in me kisses the divine in you. Convention had paralysed my instinct to love and be generous. The mind leapt in with its judging and having weighed the situation, concluded that such an act as kissing a stranger was beyond the pale. I had forgotten that we are here in this life for such a fleeting and beautiful moment…..and then, what?
Why does everything have to age and decay? Even the plants, the trees and the mountains will crumble and fall. Why are we brought into existence to die and die and die? I feel these moments of burning joy like a match in a black cavern, blinding and bright and then they are gone. Why must life be snatched away just as we begin to get the hang of it? I feel as if I have spent most of my life in a barely conscious state, not realising that everything has a consciousness, even the mountains, it is just an older and much slower consciousness. You know your are held by it when you walk there for eight hours. On my return to England I was asked by my Spiritual Guide to finish this sentence:
“When I was walking in the mountains I was……”
Without hesitation I answer, “Praying.”