(the end of December 2016)

I wake up to my first sunrise in Spain. We are staying in a beautiful pueblo at the foothills of the mountains that crown Granada. The apartment we are living in belonged to my aunt’s friend’s grandparents. It is in a very nice suburb on the side of a hill, streets winding between beautiful stucco houses, orange trees, gated walls, and trellises.

The sky turns pale pink. The air is cold as I creep down the dark marble stairs towards the heater. I let the warmth slowly start to blister my legs with the waves of heat they so desperately long for. There are tangerines in the kitchen, small and delicate with unbelievable bursts of sweetness.

After my mom and my aunt come downstairs, we decide to go and get our bearings. Early this morning, my cousin took the bus to the coast to visit a friend, so it is just us three: my mom with her big doe eyes and warm scarf, her sister with dark hair and creamy swan-skin, and me, fierce in my dark green hiking boots.

We stroll out into the morning and the colors of Spain hit my senses so hard that my breath doesn’t belong to me for a moment. The sky is blue, the surrounding hills and the earthy mountains fading into azure shadows capped with sun-touched snow. The buildings are white, the roofs tiled, the trees long and spindly and emerald. The most magical are the bright colors scattered throughout like jewels: a red wall in the distance, a turquoise gate, the glowing amber leaves of a tree, dewy oranges, a magenta rose. So exuberant are these small pinpoints of color, these little tears in the fabric of Western cosmopolitan, that I feel as if I am seeing them for the first time.

The morning is spent exploring in pottery shops, small cafes, and local grocery stores. I am overjoyed to buy a pomegranate – I haven’t had one since Christmas 2015. Brunch at the apartment is eggs, fruit, and smoked salmon, another of the delicacies that are few and far between. A bottle of wine reigns over the kitchen, warmth streams from the heater, and I am here, in the midst of it all.

Sometime later in the day we descend into a valley, walking alongside highway cutting across the steep slopes. Cars streak by almost as frequently as I eat pomegranates. After what feels like hours, we come across a village stacked on hillside. The sun is just setting, illuminating half the village, the other half like a shadowy reflection. We push onwards, into the heart of the little village, and up the stairs to a bar where we sit and talk and listen to the gentle murmur of other guests all around us.

It is getting dark as I wonder how all of this – the land, the buildings, the waiter – has existed before I found my way here. While I’m at home in the Limuru sun, this has been here. While I go about my life thousands of miles away, this building has stood and people have walked down the street and cars have come and gone. The sun has risen and set and the moon has smiled in the sky while far away I played under different constellations. And, when I do leave, here all of this will still continue, busy in an alternate world that I once chanced into. 

“And here I am, at this dusk, on this night, watching the last golden gaze of this sun. I am just a bystander, just another face that will soon submerge into the vast and dizzying currents of the world.”

2 thoughts on “Azure Mountains

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