This is what it looks like when writer’s block sets in. In the morning a thought appears: I should write a piece for the blog. And then reality takes over and before I know it, I’ve tried everything to avoid doing it: writing. This has happened every day since I’ve been back and until this moment it had succeeded in making me more barren than sand dunes in the Sahara. Even today upon awaking I went for coffee, took a long walk, strolled around the village and talked to the locals; fed the dog, made my own meal, played games on the computer, wrote letters, put up the hooks on the beam to hang the cups, watched a movie, took another walk in the rain, threw the ball ten times down the hallway for Salomé, and now there is nothing left to do so I open this blank page and write a title and begin.

I don’t know why it has happened but I haven’t been able to get myself to write anything. I haven’t even opened the blog since I’ve been back, every time I think that I should write a piece, I open another game of WordSlinger on internet and begin to play or a take out a movie and slip the DVD into the slot. It’s obvious that don’t want to write, and every time I think about it I get what is called in Spanish “repelús” which is like it makes my skin crawl. Right now as I type these words I am staving off visions of consoling ice cream, buckets of it and the desire to stop immediately and do something else.

I don’t know what happened. Somewhere between Salies and Madrid, Madrid and Mexico, Mexico and Madrid or Madrid and Salies I lost the inspiration; no, that’s not it: I developed a phobia against doing this which I am doing at this moment. And if I stop now I may never start again. It is so simple to stop typing, to put these two and a half paragraphs away with the rest of the false starts and notes and jottings that constitute my only attempts since I arrived on the 25th of March. Today is the 3rd of April. It’s been over a week. It’s raining.

No, what is happening outside my window cannot actually be called “raining”. Here in Salies sometimes it rains, really rains, but many times –like today- it is simply that the clouds are dissolving. They lie heavy and close to the ground and then they turn to water in the finest spray that you can barely feel till it gathers enough to begin dripping off your nose. Umbrellas are not much good because the drops are so light they seem to float in the air rather than fall so that the slightest breeze or movement and the wetness shifts up and under the canopy of the umbrella. When it is not too cold, like today, it is even pleasant to be out in the rain for a little while so that the walk with Salomé today was more a joy than a chore.

It was not raining when I got home, and yes: I really felt as if coming back was coming home. There was no doubt in my heart as I steered the car easily onto the main street and began breathing in the familiar sights; the sunburst that received me only confirmed the wellbeing. Spring was still everywhere in spite of my fears that I might miss the best of it. All the flower beds and municipal flower pots were overflowing with color; the pink magnolias heavy with bloom draped over the sidewalks spreading their petals on the grey concrete; and the air smelt green as it filled my lungs hungry for the purity of it after the pollution in Mexico City.

So there it is. I am home again and things are happening so fast, or so slowly, it is hard to tell. Spring is everywhere, greeting me at each sally forth, all the flowers, the warm air at 24+ºC, the hazy-sunny day. I haven’t missed it. And then, last Saturday it was almost summer as the temperature climbed four more degrees and I walked through the town wondering why I hadn’t brought my camera in order to take pictures of the color-burst. My eyes gobbled up the reds and yellows and purples and whites; the pink tulips, the multicolored printemps, white apple-blossoms, and cherry trees laden with flower. The spaciousness was orgasmic, the spring dampness on my skin, the warmth, the clean air, the natural sounds and songs caressing my ears and even the noise of cars -so many fewer than in Mexico City where 25 million people must move about daily- everything became an immediate delight.

Yes, I am glad to be back and overcome with gratitude at the privilege of being able to live in a place like Salies. Perhaps, then, it is not barrenness that plagues me, but quite its opposite: luxuriance.

5 thoughts on “BARREN

  1. If this is what you can do when you have nothing to write, can’t wait until a topic really grabs you! I love your experience of coming home – tonight I was driving back from the stables on the bypass and looked across the fields towards the little town where I now live and felt love, gratitude, smugness and sheer happiness that that’s where I live and so looking forward to calling into my neighbour with the Avon catalogue and order I have got from her and hanging out in my little garden with the cat. And here I am on the laptop so I will get off it and go and do nothing in the garden.

  2. Querida Brianda:

    Leyendo tu blog de hoy me quedan claras dos cosas,

    1ª Que tu acierto yéndote a Salies ha sido total.. Tus sensaciones y tus sentimientos al reencontrarte con tu delicioso pueblito pirenaico no dejan lugar a duda alguna. Enhorabuena por tu lucidez y tu valentía tomando la decisión de abandonar
    Madrid e ir a vivir al Bearn.. Decisión como esa dice mucho de ti y todo lo que dice es .bueno.

    2ª Que cuando es mucha la felicidad , o al menos es mucho el bienestar con tu entorno y contigo misma ( puede que la forma mejor de felicidad) e resto sobra y no nos interesa.

    Por suerte , para los demás al menos, después del climax del amor viene la calma…
    Gracias a ello hemos podido volver a leerte y esta vez leer algo tan hermoso como esa antologica descripción de la primavera en Salies.

    Gracias otra vez por este y todos tus escritos y bienvenida de nuevo al blog.


  3. I like that “luxuriance” and yet no words are enough to describe all the feeling and awe at so much beauty and explotion of color of your Spring in Salies. I could just feel the fine spray refreshing my skin. I loved it. Welcome home

  4. Sounds like the compulsion to write is melting off leaving you with the fresh air and flowers of new inspiration. Be patient – it will lead you along to the right time and subject.
    It is good to hear your voice again. Your gift can bless and up-lift all of us. Brazos

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