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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Weather Report

Weather Report

I have lived in the tropics and sub-tropics in other stages of my life, and this is my second time I have been perched on the rim of the Mediterranean. I have never really courted good weather; it has sometimes just been part of the package. The fact that I spent eight years living in Seattle will attest to the fact that I am not afraid of bad weather (although I happen to think that Seattle has beautiful weather, but I’m in the minority). I certainly didn’t come to Valencia for the weather, but I not about to complain about all of the sunshine. Valencia seems to bask in an almost perpetual springtime.

By the time I pulled up stakes in Florida for my move to Seattle I was absolutely sick of the heat and sunshine in the sunshine state. I would miss the warm ocean when I left but the constant brightness just wasn’t really congruent with my nature. I think that my nature has had to change along with learning a new language. My gloomy, introspective, northern perspective has had to do an abrupt about-face here in sunny Spain. The bright Spanish disposition is further magnified by the waters of the Mediterranean. A northerner with an overcast personality doesn’t stand a chance here in this bright corner of the great middle sea.

As I look out one side of my window this morning I can see a small patch of sky above the next door apartment buildings. If I were looking for this color in the paint store I would probably look for something called “really absurdly blue sky blue” or something like that. If I were to meet a person as ridiculously cheerful as this morning sky I would assume that they were on some sort of medication. It is the middle of winter, after all. The sky has no business being this bright and joyful, especially this early in the morning. I haven’t even finished my coffee and it’s like I am being pulled outside by brute force. It reminds me of when I was a kid and my friends would bang on the door for me to come out and play baseball when what I really wanted was to watch cartoons. You can’t stay inside and watch cartoons here in Spain; the sun won’t let you.

The sunshine has had a huge influence on the Spanish way of life, a country known for its vida callejera, or street life. People here always prefer to be outside rather than inside. Even on those rare days that are cold and wet folks like to sit outside in the cafés or stand at the walk-up coffee windows—it’s in their blood. On these unseasonably warm and sunny days of winter you really have to fight the crowds to find a place to sit in the sun—just as my little pet turtle likes to pull himself out of his pond and sun himself on the rocks.

I know exactly how my turtle feels. I, too, feel sluggish when it is cold and wet. Instead of staying inside and watching cartoons on blustery days, he just stays at the bottom of his little pond underneath a big plastic bug. On days like today he will be splashing around as soon as the light hits his little world. Me too.

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