We returned from Spain and Portugal June 2, and I’m just now going through the photos I took on the journey. I sort of disappeared from Facebook after that last post without an adios or a by-your-leave. Fact was that on the third day in Spain, I had a close encounter with a castle floor, so I wasn’t into a lot of commentary or taking of selfies during the rest of the trip. But I kept the camera clicking as we moved through the major sites on the itinerary. It’s nice going back and seeing where we were, even posting a few reviews on TripAdvisor. I’m all fully recovered now, able to speak lightly of the whole thing and ready to start posting more than an occasional lurking “like.” Missed you, FB buddies!
I would have titled this Hola, Espana, but as you can see, I still don’t know how to put a tilde on those “n’s” that require one. After two weeks on the Liberty of the Seas, Larry and I are ready to explore the Spain I’ve read about all my life. And since it has taken me fifteen minutes to write those first two sentences of this post, I will wait for more responsive internet to let you know more. Hasta luego!
This morning I bent over the kitchen counter to better inspect a small pile of green mint leaves spread out on a paper towel. Yesterday I cut back my overgrown plant of hierba buena, and a friend suggested I dry the foliage and make tea. But what were those little brown nodules on the back of some of the largest leaves? Are they bugs, fungus, or just some blight from all the rain we’ve had? Would tea made with these leaves be safe to drink? And just how dry do mint leaves have to be to make the best tea?
“I should google it,” was my immediate thought, one I have about once an hour. It’s a given these days that if you have a question, someone, somewhere will have posted an answer; and if not, you can post the question, and expect a speedy response. “I’ll bet some Birkenstock-shod earth mother in Vermont would know,” I thought, “or some organic farmer in Mexico, or even further south in the hemisphere. Where else do people drink mint tea? China? Don’t know. Definitely the Middle East: Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran?” Images of white pajama-clad figures sitting on bentwood chairs in sidewalk cafes came to mind.
About the time I was harvesting my mint leaves, people in Iran had a few hours unfettered access to Facebook and the rest of the internet universe. But the door slammed shut, as so many doors do. Anyone hooked up to an Iranian server has no direct access to information on how to prepare authentic Texas barbecue. Conversely, the U.S. blockade of websites ending in .ir remains largely unbreached. They want to keep us safe from teaching each other how to make bombs. But don’t you think most of the people in the world would rather make mint tea or barbecue?
Grace and the Inner Guadalupe
From what I used to be told by my parents, this could have been me over sixty decades ago. Evidently my favorite line was “Let me do it by myself!” Thankfully, I’ve finally ALMOST learned that grace is learning to receive help as well as give it. Sending gratitude to all those who have given me so much support and encouragement!
Right now I’m in San Miguel de Allende. Larry is “home” in rough-and- tumble La Penita on the coast. But I’m thinking about Detroit. And art. The city is considering selling the inventory of the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Wow. Talk about selling your soul!
What makes a city great? In very old times it was the height of the church spire or the height of the walls. Capitalism may have changed the focus to the skyscraper, but it still comes down to the fact that a city is known by what its citizens trust most. I trust art, and the Creative Force behind it. Yeah, I’m using capital letters there.
Years back, a friend pointed me in the direction of a lesser known work of Henry Drummond, who is best known for writing The Greatest Thing in the World, a perennial graduation or wedding shower gift about the power of love. Today I’m revisiting The City without a Church. Let me say quickly, that Drummond does not equate that to a city without a soul, but rather the opposite. (I can’t even find it on Amazon, but follow the link for a free online version in text form.) This article is not that well-known or well-promoted. The title may be a little too in-your-face and threatening for normal Christian outlets. But see if you don’t think the ideas are even more trenchant and needed today than ever before.
Two Sets of Core Values
I posted this first on my Warren Hardy Spanish website. After some recent discussions I’ve had, I think it bears re-posting here.