The past few days I've become aware of my dwindling time here at Centre D'Art I Natura....using up my supplies with less concern for running out (there is nowhere to buy more) and considering things I want to do before our Friday morning departure for Barcelona. But perhaps more than anything, I'm just savoring the views, the silence, the freedom to live from one hour to the next exactly as I wish to, without the responsibilities of my usual life. It is so easy to let one thing flow into another, to proceed in ways that are spontaneous or just feel right in the moment.
Yesterday, for example, what I thought would be a short walk to the ancient hermitage church here in Farrera somehow turned into a four hour hike. I started out about 11 a.m. with some water, drawing suplies, and my camera in my day pack, and after I had photographed the church and enjoyed the views from its high promontory, I noticed a man stride past on the path below me. He was dressed in high tech hiking gear with a walking stick. Something in that made me consider the idea of walking further...I remembered I hike I took last time with Lluis and Cesca, the couple who run the Centre, down this very path to a small village below called Glorieta. So I thought, why not hike to Glorieta, right now?
A beautiful descent down rocky paths in the sunshine became rather trecherously steep just above the village, and the marked path disappeared as it tends to do in rocky, eroded places like this. it was not really a problem, since I could see the village below me and it was just a matter of picking my way down. But it did cause me to rethink going back up the same way, since I could not be sure of finding the upper part of the trail again. So I decided to continue going forward on the trail, which picks up again outside Glorieta, and which I knew from my previous hike loops back up to Farrera.
Well it did indeed end up there, but somewhere along the way I must have made a wrong turn. There were a number of forks in the trail, which went through deep woods, and one signpost I could not decipher as all the markings were worn away. I knew I was on a marked path (bright yellow circles are painted on trees and rocks every so often on all the trails) but could only hope it was the one to Farrera. Alas, after a long upward climb I found myself in another village altogether, Mallolis...from there I could see Farrera and its neighbor Alendo on the other side of a deep valley. I had another steep decent and climb ahead of me.
Which pretty much made me want to cry, as I was already tired and sore, and I was blessed with a cloud of accompanying flies who made stopping to rest not very pleasant. Obviously there was nothing to do but push on, and make the best of it. And it was a lovely trail, through high meadows above the stream gorge. And at the bottom of the final valley, there was a spot that definitely made the whole long hike worthwhile, where the trail crossed an icy, crystalline stream that ran over small waterfalls and collected in pools lined with mossy rocks. I took off my shoes and waded downstream, awed by the beauty and serentiy of this secluded place.
This is what I love about being here, the surprises that come from wandering around when you feel there is all the time in the world...whether you are outside, in the studio, or in meandering conversations. How I will miss this relaxed pace and the way it allows for and supports so much discovery and experimentation. I recommend this Centre very highly, if that isn't obvious so far! (I haven't figued out how to make links on this computer, but there is one on my website links page, for the Centre D'Art I Natura, if anyone is interested in learning more...)