Monday, November 21, 2005


Out on my early mountain walk this crisp and clear blue morning, I looked up and saw the silver cat's eye of the moon just about to set behind the mountains and was instantly transported back in time 30 years to when we lived in Cala Boix, a then undeveloped but very historic point of land on Ibiza (I recognized it clearly in one of Patrick O'Brian's early Aubrey-Maturin books).

There, on one autumn morning like this one, I set out carrying under my arm a freshly planed motor head to carry over the mountain to San Carlos and thence all the way to the countryside garage yard in Santa Eulalia where my SEAT was sitting disassembled.

And with that memory came the broader recollection of how self-reliant we had been back then, even after Kasumi was born, when we did everything we could do ourselves, needed almost no money, had no electricity, no utilities, showered with rain water (much of the year, when a nice looking rainstorm came along we'd run outside naked with the soap), rose and set with the sun, ate a lot of wild vegetables and mushrooms, traded with the local farmers for eggs and cheeses and almonds, made an excellent coffee out of roasted wild chicory roots, fashioned our furniture out of driftwood... I had even gotten the motor out of the SEAT using only my own muscle power, no hoist - rocking it out onto a stack of tires - then when I'd bolted the head back on, I rocked the motor back into place and bolted it down, turned the key and Vrooom! A very satisfying sound indeed.

To get back to that Ibiza morning: just as I'd started up the mountain - rather a steep climb, especially carrying a motor head - I looked up and saw the same moon, in the same shape, at about the same place above the peak, and was filled with the same strong and enduring sense of companionship I had first felt one day as a child in New York, 30 years before, upon seeing the moon in just the same way...

(And that bottom-line knowledge of self-reliance is better than a pension.)


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog and your writings in Kyoto Journal.

Robert Brady said...

Thanks, Winnie; it's a privilege to be able to do both.