Just a couple of kids...

Great to be in Carlisle! Home. A long trip for such a short visit, but worth every second, of course. I think I'll have to write about Cinderella in a separate entry–Daniela was magnificent, amazing. Yesterday there were lots of kids in the audience and it got me thinking... (It's an annoying habit, but I can't help myself.) How we experience time no doubt changes over time itself. Yes, yes, that's obvious so, OK, maybe 'thinking' is overstating it... But anyway, on Friday I got up very early to go the airport. (I had taken the train up to Madrid Thursday evening because I woudn't have had time to make it from Malaga on Friday.) There was no coffee available in the hotel at 5:30 am, but the concierge very kindly pointed me across the street to an early opening bar. Next door to the hotel a discoteque was just beginnng to pour out its clients. I noticed a young couple, late teens I would guess, standing at the curb, just ga-ga over one another, arms around the other's neck as they delighted themselves with gentle carresses, oblivious to the world around them. I walk into the bar and it's like entering a time warp–Madrid in the early eighties! Nothing had changed in this tiny corner. The barman is a little surly, but the solo largo is excellent. So being there for a few minutes was fun and it got me remembering beautiful times when I lived at Calle Espíritu Santo 14. A magical address. More magic: fifteen minutes later, on my way back to the hotel to get my bag, I notice that our young couple hasn't budged an inch. They were still completely ga-ga. Just a couple of kids. Youth! As they say, such a shame it's wasted on the young. Early Friday morning on the Metro–an odd combination of early commuters and late revelers. The young partyers are mostly quiet, tired from a long night of drinking and dancing. They get me thinking some more about my days living in Madrid and some of my own early morning Metro rides. As the train moves towards the airport my thoughts continue backwards and as we pull into the Campo de las Naciones stop I'm recollecting some of my fondest childhood memories. The train comes to a stop and I look out the window across the car from where I'm standing and out onto the platform. Believe me, I coudn't make this stuff up if I tried: the wall of the platform was painted with murals and staring me in the face is this quote: "La verdadera patria de los hombres es la infancia." (Man's true home is his childhood.") Subway station as mind reader! That was a new one for me. I've seeen many versions of this quote attributed to many different people, but I couldn't see who they were citing here. (For a brief second I thought about a very different special time, the one defined by "Bilmore, ¡Patria única!", but that's another story for another day.) In any case, I felt a real chill run down my spine as the train started to pull out of the station. Then the airport routine brought me back to a more mundane present. The weekend is a whirl of activity and it's wonderful to see everyone. In no time it's Sunday and we're at the Whitaker Center. (The Saturday shows were great too!) Everyone seems to love the ballet and Daniela as Cinderella is magical. I don't want it to end, and before the third act starts I look around at all the kids and think how for some of them this day no doubt does seem endless. Surely more than one little girl in the audience is dreaming of the day some handsome prince will fit the glass slipper on, and more than one little boy is dreaming of finding the owner of the slipper he desperately clutches as if in it went his very life, as no doubt it does. And some litte girl will dare turn to a little boy and ask him if he'll be her prince. Any adult who might capture the exchange will laugh and think it's cute. How sweet! It's a fleeting moment and it's gone. But for the little boy or the little girl, or maybe both, it will last as a special memory. With time they'll mostly forget the details of the event itself, which are of no particular importance, it's that it happened, that's what matters, and he or she, or both, won't forget a certain magic. Good stories do that. The truly hard part is that you want the magic back, and you might want to recapture a past that is fatally gone. I suspect some people are deeply frustrated by time's stubborn insistence on moving inexhorably forward (an understatement, perhaps?). It's no good, and to insist too much on that kind of idle fancy must be terribly unhealthy. I'm not too sure about much of anything, but I think I've learned something in recent years about allowing the present to have its due and about living in the now, where it is best to remain well rooted. And if we are sensitive to the possibiities of the present, sometimes we get unexpected and wonderful gifts. You never know what form they might take–a visual cue caught in a landscape, seeing someone who looks like somone we know..., an aroma, a long forgotten object unexpectedly found... Who knows? These things just happen. As my friend Jesús Aguado said about a week ago regarding a different kind of coincidence I had related to him: "de coincidencia nada, Mark, es pura magia. Pura magia." I'll take that kind of magic any day.

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