The city of Madrid is so alive, so vibrant, so clean. There is so much good public transportation. The architecture is phenomenal. The streets are wide and thronged with people who speak beautiful Spanish. The food is fantastic. There is a vibrancy, a liveliness that is alluring. I wish Joy was here to share it. I drink too much coffee. I eat only Spanish ham. I spend hours at El Prado, truly a mind boggling museum, whose only competition I see in this city of four million is the not equally well known, but truly equally bustling and fantastic Museum of Ham, where I also sample the art.
El Prado displays what are truly miraculous talents in vast numbers of works, all so well preserved, mostly 1,000s of oils over three or four hundred years old, all by men - Rueben, Goya, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Durer, Brueghel - portraiture paintings, religious paintings, paintings which change perspective depending on the angle from which they are viewed, paintings with far more than a thousand figures and a thousand faces, paintings of one dog, one horse, one cardinal, one Christ, bloody scary paintings, paintings of Maja Naked and Maja Clothed, Spanish paintings from as early as the 1100s, Italian paintings from the 1300s, front lighted paintings, back lighted paintings, the details almost beyond belief so realistically do they appear, the range of expression on the faces, the blacksmith’s shop, how alive and full the larder, down to a red boiled lobster.
But most of all as I stroll the streets of Madrid, I’m ready for home, and again concerned about what I will “do” when home to fill the time and feel useful, relevant, and with purpose, besides my one engaging upcoming trial, my summer gardens, my occasional visitors, and Joy. I’ve become such a loner, perhaps the most loner person I know, sans clients, students, men’s groups, study groups, card games, church socials. And although there is always the dream of writing in a more focused, useful, disciplined way … and/or of doing and being yoga in a way that truly deepens me … and/or contributing to the effort to promote greater social justice in a substantial way, knowing war and the inequitable distribution of wealth still turn the human wheel and that, at least theoretically, it could so easily be changed. But the bottom line for me is that this trip is over … and although I don’t want to be on the road right now, I’m also really not sure I’ll find home at home.
And, of course, the ham was also really fantastic.