When the sun shines over the city, covering the neighborhoods in stripes of light, you forget the month. It’s not January. It can’t be January.
You need to get from point A to point B, but the direct way is through the streets shaded by buildings blocking the sun, so you start ambling down the sunny line, chasing the light, barely seeing where you’re going. You’re squinting with your face upwards, smiling a dumb, childish smile. Just because it’s warm. And it’s a basic need you’re following, no reasoning behind your chosen path.
It takes you an hour to get home, instead of just 20 minutes, but you feel victorious, because you’ve tricked the shade. I barely walked through you, you say to it.
In Park Guell, an early Saturday morning. You’re taking your dear friend who’s come to Barcelona to show her the meandering paths and lack of straight lines that Gaudi planted in his vision of the Park, mosaic bits and pieces, palm-tree shaped columns, gingerbread-like houses.
There’s a thin layer of water just evaporating from the ground so you figure it has just rained. The cacti and the flowers that cover the entire park area are sprinkled with drops of rain, dew everywhere, and the air is fresh. The park, usually packed even in the morning, seems to be empty.
Up, up, to the three crosses, one of the highest points in the park,
so you can snap a touristy photo of the entire city below, with its skyline in view: the gherkin shaped building (almost a twin of the one in London, possibly the creation of some phallic-symbol-obsessed architects), the Sagrada Familia, with the cranes towering above it, the sea, a tranquil blue-green, reflecting the morning sun.
It’s perhaps one of the dozens of similar photos you’ve taken from the exact same spot, but there seems to be no limit to how different the same view appears to your eye, and the camera is thirsty.
“We’re probably looking at the park more through our lens than without it!” she says.
“I guess this means we’re going to get back, look at the photos and wonder about the beauty we could have seen directly!” I answer, aware of the trap we always fall into when eager to capture more with a machine then with our direct perception.
*A bird taking a bath in a puddle.*
*A couple of camera-shy birds that fly away as soon as you take of the lens cap.*
A cat. The cat! This is our third encounter and she’s still the same predictable feline. She meows like no other and when you call her, she quickly leaves her watch-post and awaits affection. Once you stop petting her grey and white fur, she starts meowing again, as if saying “What do you think you’re doing You can’t just call me to you and only pet me for such a small amount of time!”.
She almost jumps on Samantha’s coat, pushing her face into the palm of Sam’s hand, and the photo-shoot takes a good couple of minutes.
Samantha names the cat Deidree. It must be one of the many names given to her by whoever passed by. Oddly enough, I realize just now that we didn’t really investigate its gender.
We find the most beautiful view in the entire park: a tree in blossom.
White flowers, rain drops still on them, no leaves on the branches, just petals. You don’t know whether to feel bad for the tree that fell for it and decided it was already spring, or to admire its boldness and response to what it perceived. No over-analyzing…just blossom.
So we dance our photo snapping dance around the tree, from all angles , nature-paparazzi in action.
And the day unfolds gently, with warmth and conversations left pending two years ago.
Nothing is better than spring in January. Perhaps only a spring-like day in January with Samantha visiting.