Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Joy, simple, profound, soul-deep joy

When I am in Spain, that is what I feel, that is what I experience, that is what surrounds me. Joy, simple joy. Not that everything always goes smoothly. Not that the weather is always glorious. Not that the people are always helpful, friendly, or welcoming. I'm not saying that my time in Spain is perfect, but I am saying that spending time in Spain always, always, always gives me many reasons, opportunities, and motives for joy.

One of the more joyful occasions on this recent trip was my visit to San Sebastián, a city on the northern coast of Spain. The time I spent there did go smoothly. The food was fantastic. The people were friendly. The weather was unseasonably warm and dry. My hotel room had a view of the beach. I spent several hours one day sitting on the beach watching the people, staring at the water, and listening to music. I ate gelato from an Italian gelatería. Therefore, I spent almost 48 hours smiling. Filled with joy.

I walked into these restaurants, (gently) elbowed my way to the counter, 

checked out what was available, 

and asked for what I wanted,
or if I didn't know exactly what it was, I would point at what I wanted. 

They would heat it up and I would eat it up.
Not a single dish cost more than $3 or $4. 
That's a lie - one thing I ate cost more than $4, only one - fried calamari.
That city gives "bar-hopping" a whole new meaning.

As I walked the beach, I said to myself: "This is midday prayer.
This moment. This walk. This beach. This sky. This sand between my toes.
This breath. This peace. This gratitude. This joy. 
This is prayer."

A father and his three sons.  

Contemplating the sea before surfing.

 Soon after my surgery, a friend sent me $3 and told me to use it to treat myself to ice cream.
Pamela, I finally did it - in Spain. 
Delicious! Thank you!

Tea party for one in the hotel bar. 

El paseo, the evening meander.

I was happy, grateful, filled with joy.

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