Showing posts from July, 2022

Beginning Over, 22. They Just Don't Learn.

They're baaaack! You can see them moving in hordes down the streets of old Santiago de Compostela, hell-bent on reaching the cathedral. Or gathered in flocks at the terrace bars of my home town. The tourists are here. Last year was the real Jacobean Holy Year, when the feast day of Saint James, whose casket is in the cathedral at Santiago (says the legend), fell on a Sunday. But, the Pope graciously allowed us to milk the tomb for all its worth this year as well, since last year was a washout thanks to the pandemic. So, we're on the second Holy Year in this year of two thousand twenty-two of Our Lord. Lord help us. We never did learn anything from the pandemic about making our cities gracious servants of its inhabitants rather than of the rapacious tourist industry, so we're back where we were before the virus interrupted the money-making schemes of so many. Trooping down the streets of Santiago in the early morning, pilgrims singing rousing religious songs, getting neighb

Beginning Over, 21. The Green Heart, Pierced.

The Courel in Lugo is burning. The heart and lungs of this, our green Galicia, are being devoured by ferocious flames licking up ancient hills that, until now, were verdant and fresh. Entire villages, forgotten by most of their old neighbors, are now being erased completely, burned down to the bare stones. History, human and natural, is disappearing in the sparks of this hateful orange flower of flames. This fire, and another enormous one down near O Barco de Valdeorras, was sparked by lightning last week, during that freak thunderstorm that blew up over us thanks to the unusual heat we had. At least it wasn't started by a human piece of dung. But it was exacerbated by lackadaisical fire control and a lack of forest management that hasn't been in place ever since the way of life in the mountains started to disappear. Once, it was the people who subsisted in those villages who cut and trimmed and cleaned out deadwood. But, when they left for decent lives with decent jobs, no one

Beginning Over, 20. The Death of A Dream.

July 4th was the celebration of Independence Day in the United States. It was a day to celebrate the founding of a nation based on certain basic freedoms. People usually have barbecues, watch fireworks, go to parades, and shoot at other people. It is so ironic that one of the amendments on the Constitution that helped to create that country, made sure that mass death could happen on the anniversary of its founding. Fireworks, parades, and guns. So American.  America as a free country is dead. I'm sorry if I anger some people, but that is my opinion, and that of many. Growing up, I had heard comments about how long strong countries, empires really, could last. Two hundred years, more or less, was the answer, at least as a world power. In name, they can last longer, but be a mere paper tiger. The United States was founded in 1776, almost two hundred fifty years ago. It is now headed to its death. Economically, militarily, it is still strong. But, morally, it is deader than a doornail