Sunday, October 3, 2010
As I stand on this bridge, overlooking a vast river with hundreds of years of historical influence, I ask myself how many people have jumped off. It wouldn’t exactly be suicide since the water below does not flow with the turbulence of a bay, nor is it as frigid as that of the American Great Lakes. It would probably be fun, if one didn’t break a bone upon landing, to fall into these waters and be submerged into the bevy of stories it holds, tales of seafaring captains and crew with great dreams of sailing the ocean of a round planet to discover first the Indies and then, more knowingly, the New World.
Fast forward five hundred years and the ghosts of mariners, merchants, and fisherman surely haunt the winds that blow delicate ripples throughout the murky surface of water whose colors range from deep navy to moss green and even to violet gray, depending on the light in the sky. Along both this river’s shores and spanning this bridge, invisible spirits undoubtedly whisper tales of love lost or wishes fulfilled, to deaf ears.
But I hear them.
On a crisp Sunday in May, late in the morning, I stand on the Triana Bridge looking south over the Guadalquivir River in Seville, Spain, and I listen. This is the land where religious tolerance once ruled supreme before dying a shameful death, and where Gypsies are a paradox to be looked down upon and romanticized at the same time. It is also a land where progress, both socially and morally, is always on the move. So I keep my heart and ears open. I hear voices in different languages, laughter of all ages, boat engines humming below, cars rushing by behind me, horse hooves clopping on pavement as they pull carriages of tourists behind them, my own thoughts colliding with each other, and the undecipherable cries of Spanish spirits begging me to stay.
It is said Christopher Columbus set sail from the mouth of this river, and as I visualize that mouth, I wonder what stories of adventure it will some day tell of me.
I must find out.
This is the opening to a memoir-type story I'm considering writing. I welcome your feedback, even the critical (but kindly-worded) kind.