The sun has emerged somewhat for the first time all year, which is only five days old, mind you, but since this isn’t Vancouver, it seems like an eternity to Madrid. I wouldn’t quite go as far as to say it’s sunny, but rather a dusty purplish hue of the kind you might see on a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
I’ve heard several complain that the year is off to a bad start, that the murky climatic conditions are representative of the country’s mood and future, but the optimists have something different to say. It means, they claim, plenty of water for the countryside and that in turn spells good news for agriculture which, in turn, augurs a period of bonanza.
Liberal interpretations aside, four days of rain is never a bad thing in Spain because, as anyone who has spent an extended period of their life here can tell you, you just never know when it will show up next. Summertime can come and go with nary a drop from the heavens. So, we take what we can get because every little bit counts. I just wish things could be spread out a little more evenly.
Yesterday was January 5th, the Eve of the Epiphany, The Twelfth Night, Three Kings’ Day, and with it Spain’s particular version of Santa Claus. The shops all opened their doors in hopes that the final rush will turn their otherwise listless Sunday into proof that the rains have brought better times.
Just down the street, Nuno’s, Madrid’s famous pastry shop, has a line thirty-long going out the door as people patiently wait to purchase his award-winning roscón, or Three Kings’ Cake. It’s been that way for the past three days. The TV was there just yesterday making its annual visit. I’ve tried them…they are all right…but you will not get me to wait in unfriendly weather conditions just to sink my teeth into one.
Last night the Three Kings will descended upon hundreds of cities and towns and parcel out millions of gifts to millions of nail-biting children in one final Christmas effort to close out the season. While the rest of the world has dumped most of its trees at the designated town drop-off center, Spain, in true Spanish fashion, has taken the festivities just a step further. Madrid’s parade runs along the Castellana Street, and last night’s version was a particularly bright and cheery, especially considering it drizzled for most of the event. Three American marching bands added a good measure of upbeat high school flavor to the cavalcade and for some reason, the general impression that I got was that people were plain happy to see 2013 go and start afresh. It wasn’t a good year. Another loop around the sun waiting and hoping and praying for better times. It rained…we cheered; it rained…we cheered.