Meeting the morning here, when I’m paying attention, is a quiet and calming experience. The little balcony outside our bedroom window looks out into a small sea of houses and trees. Even though I’ve been here a year, the vertical lines of Spanish-tiled roofs and short, chunky palm trees still stop me in the middle of a series of daily tasks. They remind me how far away I once lived from here, in central Minnesota, where houses rely on scratchy, black shingles to keep out the snow and evergreens aim themselves confidently toward the sky. I notice that even trees and architecture somehow leave their impression on who we have become. I decide that something inside of me has wanted to know the feeling of a palm tree opening easily without forgetting the tenacity of a conifer.
And beyond the nest of homes and trees is something else so magnificent that I can’t always stop to let myself take it in. The Atlantic water washing up between the vague images of Cadiz and Rota in the distance is somehow too vast, too overwhelming to notice fully every day. Some days ships anchor and wait patiently for something in the economy to change before unloading their freight in a nearby city. Sometimes the hue of blue in the water matches the sky and you can’t see a beginning or an end to either of one of them. And some days the water has stirred itself into a turquoise so seductive, so unquenchable, that all you can do is stand before it and hope to experience, drop by drop, what it feels like to let the ocean inside of you.