I've been thinking about time.
For two weeks I lived alone in a tiny village in Spain. I did not speak Spanish, and it was COVID. The locals were friendly from behind their masks, but there was not much chance of any human connection.
So, every day I went walking. I packed up a loaf of bread from the town bakery, some salami and cheese and wandered for most of the day. I walked into tiny towns whose only inhabitants were stray cats, I wandered washed out gravel roads, and foot paths into pine forest dotted with orange and almond groves. I walked all day and I rarely saw a single soul.
One day, I was exploring a dry river valley when I stopped to take in the view. Some whisper of intuition told me to stop and look longer. And then I saw it, a tiny stone cottage, the same color as the earth.
I picked my way over to it, and looked in. There was just enough space inside for one person to sit. The ground was damp, so I pulled at a large flat stone that had fallen from the roof, leaning against the wall. Behind it, I found a wonder.
It was a clay drinking jug, very old, broken where the stone had struck it, falling. I sat there staring , then opened my water bottle and took a drink.
I felt them there with me. The ones who had sat here so long ago. They had come in out of the wind and the rain to take a drink and watch their sheep. They had looked out on this valley. Like me, they had come alone.
My heart swelled with something great and unknowable. Time stretched like an elastic band and broke.
Before I left, I leaned the stone against the wall, leaving the treasure hidden, for another traveler to find. On that day, I will be with them. I will be sitting there still.