When it rains, fish will appear, part 1

Door San Daniel gepubliceerd in Verhalen en Poëzie

'It does not rain here often in the valley, but when it rains, the clouds empty to the last drop. Then there is a rainy veil over the area surrounded by mountains. Our village is located between those mountain ranges and you need the wind from the Murcia direction to bring the gray winter clouds to us.


It is normal that it does not rain much here. The difference between spring and winter is therefore very small by comparison. This is an extremely dry area that borders the only zone in Europe, which is classified as desert: Tabernas. Spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood in the lead, such as: "the Good, the bad and the ugly" or "for a fist full of dollars" were filmed here. American directors discovered that with a considerably lower budget you could "shoot" just about any movie because of the lower location costs or staff. A cowboy village was recreated called "mini Hollywood" and many American cowboy films were shot just around the corner of our village. There are on the plains tee-pees to be seen, the typical Indian villages with their wigwams. Saloons with "Can can girls" A fake cemetery "Boothill" and three times a day a "spectacle" is performed for the visitors of this now Andalusian theme park. Then horses  will come thundering around the corner throwing up dust clouds behind them and there is a lot of shooting that takes place with blanks. A "shootout" is put in scene twice a day and the sheriff hangs a horse thief and in short the many young visitors see how the law prevailed in the Wild West.

All this just separate from our village, but around the corner of our village but more to indicate that the environment is really fierce and dry. One is used to that, farmers always complain when it rains that it gets too wet and if it does not rain then it is too dry. If someone does palmas (clapping hands and singing) in a bar, erupting into a song under the guidance of his own arithmic clapping, then almost always a cry will be heard in the spirit of "No Canta mas!" No more singing, I still have to plow .. or 'he is calling forth the rain.' It's a standard joke when someone sings badly, the Spanish say, "when he sings, it starts to rain."


Here folk are truly happy when it rains:

When I experienced a rain shower for the first time, I mean a real rain shower, so that the path of your farm becomes a clay muddy slip road, where you slide with your car from left to right looking for the connection to the asphalt road, I was amazed. It did not rain, no it poured down and because our village is in a "little bowl" between the mountains it is hard to imagine how much water runs down over the dry land and fields and slopes before the ground starts to suck it up. It is therefore better if you have a soft, uninterrupted drizzle for days on end because it then penetrates deeper into the soil.

The village is old and therefore has no drainage other than a natural one, ie you build higher than the lowest point, then the water runs through the streets along your house down through the narrow streets to the river. When people see the rain coming, they often lay down a sandbag in front of the door so that the descending water does not come in. So you go to the village because you can not do anything on the land and on the way to the village you see that water starts to appear in the river. It first collects in the lower places but slowly but surely a small stream swells to a ferocious water current when the rain lasts long enough. You go to the first pub and that you come across and there are your friends, the neighbors: everyone is sitting having a drink and looking  outside, people congratulate each other when it really rains. 'Un regalo de Dios,' they say: a gift from the Lord. You drink and you drink some more and you tell each other stories to pass the time.


Dancing with your mum in the rain:

An old man, next to me in the pub, asked me: 'when were you really happy in your life, really happy without inhibitions?' I had to think about that and suddenly there was an image of a long time ago and I could link to that image and borrowed warmth from it. I replied, 'I have not always lived here, but I have not always lived in the Netherlands either. My father worked at a large company and was often transferred to all sorts of places. Always for a period of 5 years. The whole family went along and so we lived 5 years here and 5 years there. I lived in the tropics when I was young, I mean really small. We lived close to the equator and it was always very warm. My mother planted some vegetables in the front yard and I was allowed to "help" her. I will have been about three years old. "

The old man bowed towards me and listened attentively.


'All at once a ruffle could be heard, a drumming in the distance,' I continued, "it came from afar but approached quickly, and I saw with my mother that a transparent curtain of rain was rushing towards us. The monsoon had begun, it reached us in no time and my mother picked me up, held me on her arm and danced with me on my arm in the rain. She had a sweet sweet smell and the rain was sultry, almost warm and I was so happy, it could have continued forever. I loved her so much and I felt that she loved me as well,  so much that everything else disappeared. " "That's nice," said the old boss. 'I understand that. Rain is very important and mothers are the purest beings of the whole world. "

The Flood of 1973 washed the valley clean:

Now the riverbed of the river that runs through our village is mainly dry. There used to be water in it throughout the year. It is the main riverbed from the region and from the mountain ranges up to 50 km from here mountain streams and the melting water of the higher regions empty out in that bed. It may well be that it is dry here but 40 or 50 km away it might be very rainy, accompanied by thaw in the spring, then that empty bed suddenly fills up with ferocious water that comes charging around the corner and overtakes you with such force that it "does away" with you. Very annoying if you are just walking or driving with your car through the bed to another village (often the shortest way), you will be washed away and if you are lucky you will be found back so you can get a decent burial.


Such happened in the 70s, the fatal combination of factors that coincided with a totally unexpected large river that made the valley a lake of 800 meters wide. Just as the water rises through more rain from the whole area, coinciding with the melting of snow plains and the fact that where the river leaves the village there are two opposite mountain chains that narrow the passage.

The Roman bridge was flooded. The Roman bridge was knocked away. The outside areas could no longer reach the village. Now an ugly steel bridge has replaced the old Roman one, but at least it is a very strong one. Orange plantations were swept away by the washing water, really big trees hundreds of years old were "tossed away" by the water.

 From the old farms that were located along the floodplains, only ruins remain of about one meter high. Shepherds who were overtaken drowned together with their herds.

The water raged through Albox and destroyed everything on its way. It is engraved in the memories of the people. Something like the water disaster in Zeeland in the fifties. The combination of factors that create a disaster alltogether.

Fish will appear when it rains:

I saw my old neighbor from 80 + walk to the village through a soft rain shower. I stopped, it was Antonio de Dove, that was his nickname because he has white hair and as our Patron Saint is San Anton, half the village is named after him. Therefore the Antonio's all have a nickname to distinguish them.

'Hola Antiono,' I said, 'hombre, sube!' "Hi Antonio," I said, "hop in." A little later he sat next to me in the car and smelled of his own grown tobacco ... a strong, penetrating smell that seemed to come from his whole being. "So," he said, looking intently at the sky. "It will not be long before the fish will reappear." "What do you mean," I asked? He now repeated it in other words. "You know," he said. 'When it rains they will appear.' It seemed like a prophecy. "How I wanted to know." "Why would they appear?" 'Yo que sé,' he said 'I don't know, they just appear.' I asked, 'in the river?' "Yes," he answered thoughtfully, "always."

 "Antonio, that's a dry river, there's no fish in there," I replied. "You do not know anything," the old man said stubbornly. 'I have seen it myself.' "Let it go," I thought, "it's a nice, but old man." In the village I dropped him off and went to the nearest bar for my morning coffee. there were some old farmers with their coffee and drinks .. "Hombre Daniel," I was greeted. I ordered my coffee and asked the nearest farmer. "Have you ever seen fish in the river?" "Not normally," he said, "not even if it forms a stream, but if it rains long enough, yes I have."


"de verdad." "Really," I asked? The others now joined in and two other farmers  had seen it as well. "It has to rain a lot, though" they said, "but it is true, they simply appear." Days later I discussed it with the old schoolmaster of the village. "Ah," he said, "you know they are all good people, but they are so" inculto ", unlearned."

"They see something and do not wonder how it comes abot. They just look for a bamboo stick and try to outwit the fish they see, their world does not go further. ' "Right," I said, "and where do those fish come from and why are they only present when it rains."

"Simple," he said, "if it rains long enough, the river will swell so that sometimes it will be linked up 40 km from here on the upper course to a river that never dries. If that connection is there, fish will come along downstream. ' I nodded, I had a picture of that. "When the water level drops again," he continued, "the connection will be broken again and then everything will be as it was again."

What a wonderful pragmatic people, I thought, they respond to their environment without asking questions.

'Be aware Fish will appear.'

San Daniel 2018

also read part 2


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29/12/2018 16:00

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