“For as long as I can remember, I have been puzzled by the fact that I can feel like a Christian only when I am indoors. As soon as I get into the open air, I feel entirely out of relation with everything that goes on in a church – including both the worship and the theology.”
— Alan Watts
When you walk along the eastern edge of the Maestrazgo above the Mediterranean, there’s little to tell you about the bones of dinosaurs sleeping beneath your feet, or the footprints of Knights Templars, Moors and Romans who walked here long before you were born, or cave paintings from the Pleistocene Era, or the Maquis guerillas who hid in these mountains and fought the Fascists in both France and Spain long after the Civil War ended in 1939. There’s only the bright ocean that makes you imagine that if the sun were not so radiant you would be able to see the North coast of Africa.
It’s a drowsy Sunday afternoon in early Autumn. Your Spanish friends, who have graciously included you in their hike, are curled up with their packs under the shade of black pines. You hear the chirp of insects and the cries of hawks high above in the bright blue air, and faintly at your feet, the murmur of a stream that frets and pools around stones on its long journey to the sea.
You listen, and draw, draw quickly, remember the colors for later tonight, draw quickly, because your friends will stir out of their siestas soon, and it will be time to lace up your boots and walk home with them.
For a while with your pencil you held the stones and light and the trickle of water on the paper of your book. It was only later that the stream came back to you in memory: Like a friend, it had been holding you as well.