We all turn out to watch
the river churn and the bridges
froth at the mouth while
above us, angry mountains clench
white teeth, briefly holding back
In a brief lull in the torrential rain yesterday, I ventured as far as the village.
I think almost all the locals were outside, most of them down inspecting the river which continues very high. The good thing – and a popular topic of conversation – is that there is still plenty of snow on the mountains, so we should have water later on in the year, too.
Having got out of el pueblo today for the first time in several weeks, I’m reminded of something I wrote years ago in a poem called The Water Seekers:
[…] up into the mountains,
We stop at a roadside inn:
sour wine and anchovies in vinegar.
The map shows a thin blue line,
but the mountainside
is as brown and bare as the city.
In summer you often see a river on the map which simply doesn’t exist when you get there. There’s little chance of that at the moment: all the rios, arroyos, riachuelos, and acequias, every water course of every size and description, right down to the smallest that has been dry ever since before we moved to the village, is now angry and frothing white.
Two points of language to end:
- For those of us who pronounce the soft “c” as an “s” – as it’s pronounced in Latin America, rather than as the lisped sound of Castilian Spanish – it’s hard to dsconnect the word “acequia” (an irrigation ditch) from “sequía” (drought), despite the change in stress pattern.
- “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” is translated as la lluvia en Sevilla es una maravilla – with the focus on the pronunciation of the “ll”. Spanish uses three different sounds for the consonant between the two “o”s in the words apoyo, pollo and polio.