The House at the End of the Path by the Sea
Posted on 30/01/22 09:29pm
I've been in Lanzarote for a while now.
Walking, swimming, writing, reflecting.
The wide open spaces here are not peppered by specks of birds
in the distance, or goats, or cows, sheep, horses,
or even people.
I'm in Famara, a surfers haunt on the North East coast
looking on to the Atlantic.
I went walking with a friend a few days ago, on the cliffs that overlook
the beach. Walked quite a way until only sea lapped the rocks below.
My friend had walked this coast, many years before
and vaguely remembered a small stone dwelling
built into the rocks at the base of the cliff.
Or had he dreamed it?
We walked on.
A few hours later as we traversed a rocky ridge, and the sea
about a hundred metres below, we saw what looked like a dwelling in
exactly the place he'd remembered, about half a mile ahead.
As we approached it, with about five hundred metres to go, we came upon a house.
How to describe it.
It was a shock. He hadn't seen this on his previous walk
twenty years before as he had walked the beach
when the tide was out and we were about a hundred metres above.
The cottage was white. It had a gate.
A yard at the front. At the end of the yard, was a little foliage
then the drop to the sea.
The house had no doors. No people there.
It looked like no one had lived there for years.
We walked inside. Clothes hung up on a line.
Shoes on a self made rack. Painted bottles of all colours
stood in their own spaces dripping candlewax.
Books and journals, on nature, biology, medicine, geography,
Central America, The Galapagos Islands, Asia, India, Europe, Africa,
Patagonia, The Sahara, tucked into shelves in one corner of the room.
The Journals, written by a spanish hand, were many, and detailed.
There were diaries. Even here, these personal notes,
in a hand I could not understand, seemed out of bounds to me.
I left them alone.
What i found most fascinating, amidst this bohemian
den of mystery, was a stack of schlocky magazines
on who was doing what and where and to whom
and lets not dwell on the why too deeply.
'Hello' magazine and the European equivalents, well thumbed
non-smutty periodicals to keep the feet on the ground, in the mud,
out of the constellations of the heavens, in the eternal damnation
of our earthly stars.
There was a bedroom.
Again, it warranted a peak, continuing the trashy magazine theme.
Female flip flop, make up, toiletries and a bed and bedding
that hadn't seen a body in years. Maybe.
Spices on a shelf.
I remembered doing this as a boy in derelict houses in the early 70s.
I was electrocuted and blown across the floor
when i was trying to get a massive magnate out of the electric meter.
Those were the days.
These days, here and now, are somewhat different.
And the sea, relentless, indifferent, always ready for the fall.
Despite that, what a wonderful place this was.
I was in awe.