Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reflections from the Terrazza

The clothes dryer is known as sunshine in this part of the world, so I am spending a good deal of time on our terrazza. Hanging up the laundry can be quite relaxing. It isn’t so much the activity, as the ambience. I am reminded of Bert in “Mary Poppins” when he explains to the children about the wonders of rooftops, and how no one gets to enjoy them but the chimney sweeps and the birds, and in my case, the industrious housewives. The view from the top of our building, which really isn’t all that tall (7 floors) is quite lovely. You can watch the clouds as they move across the sky (and wonder if it is futile to hang out your laundry to dry – as it was today… weather can be as unpredictable in Spain as in Oregon.) Or watch a spectacular sunset. Or my favorite part… take in the symphony of the Córdoban bells.

A lot, if not all the churches have bells, as well as many of the buildings. The bells mark the passing of the day. From the terrazza, if you stop and listen, and the wind is blowing right, you can hear three or four sets of bells chiming out the hour, and half hour, each with their own distinct tones and melodies. I haven’t figured out which bells come from which churches, yet. But I don’t suppose that really matters. Plaza Colón is surrounded by churches, really old churches, at least one monastery, and three convents. There is a clock in Tendillas Square that plays music that sounds like it is something out of Phantom of the Opera, it is probably Bach. The bell symphonies are really quite something to listen to. Sometimes two sets of bells ring at the same time, but more often they echo each other. After all, if you have two clocks, are you ever really sure what time it is?

Sundays take on an entirely different feel, the bells seem more joyful and euphoric (at least to me) as they call the town to mass. A couple of weeks ago, there was a wedding in the church behind our piso, and the concert from the bells when the ceremony was over was one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard. The bells began to peal into truly heavenly melody that went on for a good 10 minutes. This was followed by the guests singing in the courtyard. It was truly wonderful! Since that first wedding concert, I have noticed that wedding bells are a weekend staple. Again, sometimes you may hear more than set of bells, as different couples musically announce their happiness to Córdoba. I just can´t help stopping and listening, if only for a moment, to such joy set to the music of bells.

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