Garcia Lorca's childhood house in Fuente Vaqueros
CANCIÓN LLENA DE HORAS
PERDIDAS EN LA SOMBRA
CANCIÓN DE ESTRELLA VIVA
SOBRE UN PERPETUO DIA
(Song full of lost hours
in the shade
Song of a living star
over a neverending day)
These are the words that are inscribed on a plaque on the corner of the street where Garcia Lorca was born in Fuente Vaqueros.
And here are the two fountains in the town, one with a huge statue of Lorca:
But I really want to talk about Granada, where Lorca's family moved when he was 11. Imagine sitting in the open air—a bit chilly on the toes—being serenaded by two young men on Spanish guitar, with a view of the Alhambra lit up as you raise your head skywards. Though I am alone, this is as close to heaven as I have come in a very long time. And then add Granadans with such lightness and joy, eager to talk to you, and you have some sense of what my Friday night was like after an entire morning in the Alhambra and a stroll to the Garcia Lorca Park—despite his house being closed. And then there’s the grilled cod or the seafood paella (and for others, the ham and pork) I had last night. And the wine. And the flamenco in a cave at a club I’d been invited to in Sacromonte—the gypsy quarter of Granada. I though I would never find a place to equal Italy, but I was wrong. Perhaps because Granada has the palpable presence of gypsies and poetry and many traces of the Moors—victims of the same persecution as the Jews and responsible for the Cante Jondo—the soul of the Deep Song of Andalucia.
As others go on pilgrimages to the cathedral where Fernando and Isabella are sepulchred, as a Jew, my bond to the Moors and antipathy to the Spanish monarchs who were responsible for the destruction of the civilization of Al-Andaluz and for routing out the Jews has me choosing to avoid the Cathedral. My pilgrimage is to music and dance and poetry. Imagine a town where to say "I am a poet and I love Lorca," raises an eyebrow of pure joy and pride and comraderie.
When the solitary Spanish woman on the beach in Mojácar said, “This is really Murcia, not Andalucia,” I didn’t quite understand. Now that I’m in Granada, I do. Here the people are as open as a split pomegranate—symbol of the city and the derivation of its name. I chat away in Spanish to everyone and people are happy to talk to me. In Mojácar the locals are as prickly, surly (with some exceptions) as the cactus without the fruit. when I arrived in Granada on Thursday and began walking uphill in the Albayzín, the Arab quarter, I could feel my chest opening, as though I hadn’t been breathing before, as though my spirit had been locked inside the depths of one of the snail shells that cover everything in Mojácar. Mojácar has no duende—or at least I haven't been able to find it. When I stroll at midday or dusk past the small fruit groves, I am eyed with suspicion. And at the beach I look up at all the rampant developments of small white condos, mostly for English retirees. Granada, on the other hand, is duende’s birthplace.
Now I will see if I can get into Huerta de San Vicente, Lorca’s summer
house in Granada.