Sunday, 1 June 2008

Waiting for the rain

The Mediterranean coastline is a hard piece of ground.

One of the first things that strucks the Mediterranean expatriate on arriving to Austria is the greenness, that incredibly saturated green colour, almost supernatural, whose brightness hurts those eyes that grew accustomed to red ochre ridges, yellow brooms, infinite blue sea and dusty green olive trees.

Soon after moving to Austria one realizes where does the green come from: flora has a rather easy life on this land because it rains often and abundantly. That's why trees can turn into 30 and 40 meter tall giants. That's why going into the woods outside paths is almost mission impossible in spring and summer, save you have a machete.

The Mediterranean coastline, I was saying, is a hard piece of ground. Because rain is there a really scarce good that, when it falls, does so in a short and wild way over a very dry ground that cannot soak it up and ends up causing floods instead of producing crops.

flors figuera de moro

But Mediterranean vegetation, as are its people, is old and wise and learned to wait, keeping all their energies for that couple raindrops that are going to fall, if not today, maybe tomorrow, or next week, or next month. And when those raindrops do eventually fall, they get strength out of nowhere, throwing roots to drink them, sprouting little shoots that will let them continue saving that light, that Sun, saving energy for the next drought.

brotes xiprers

I think Mediterranean vegetation is fascinating because of the way it holds on anxiously to life and carries on in spite of a rather hostile environment. I love it because it reminds me of its people, it reminds me of my people, who turned barren into cultivated land with sweat, blood, effort and resolution, under the remorseless Sun that burns everything out.


Last week we have been to Catalonia. As we came back, my office colleagues asked me, as usual, if we'd had nice weather. And I told them yes, it'd rained every day and that's the best weather we could have wished for. I'm not sure that they really understood my smile and the joy I felt in my heart as I saw my land green and alive.


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