The summer day started with a crisp morning, the kind that you only get 1.500 meters up into the mountains. It seems that all dawns, at the mountain’s foothills, have something in common, no matter where you are in the world: that strong and brisk air, even during a hot Iberian summer and that year-round pine tree smell. And walking across the morning lawn, full of dew, was like another cold shower for the feet, packed together with a new awakening.
The morning stillness was broken at times only by the rumble of a car of some hurried tourist.
We started our several-kilometer hike in the Pyrenees feeling a bit claustrophobic, as we always had to look up to see the sky, but ceaselessly carrying on, to escape the mountain’s swallow. We passed by rivers cutting into the mountain’s hunches, like veins running through the human body. They were springing out of unexpected earth-pores, like a sudden skin cut bursting out with blood, taking the life of the mountain all the way down to civilization. Rocks were holding hands under the river, as if trying to put road-blocks in the way of the crystal-clear water.
Passing 2.000 meters in altitude, we left behind us the sunny meadows and clover-green trees, and welcomed rolling rocks and strong wind trying to blow us down. Having conquered the mountain, the refuge on the windy top welcomed us with a bowl of steaming soup and 15 degrees less from the scorching heat down in the valley.
As we were inhaling the soup’s vapors, mixed together with the sweet feeling of accomplishment, we realized it’s lonely on top of the world! So we hurried to start our descent, knowing that we’d have a public show to catch in the evening, in our small guest town.
The locals would gather on the river banks every evening, to mingle and share the day’s news. They didn’t need any platforms of online social media, not because the internet connections didn’t work there, but because people would spend more time outside, in the nature, together. And they seemed to cope just fine without pokes, +1s or retweets.
Just when we arrived, three ladies were gathered on a wooden bench, right on the river bank. Sitting together, they were chatting and sharing what could very well have been grandkids’ newest photos from a real, plastic photo album. Passing by, a couple stopped to greet them and they all started sharing stories only known by them. As one of the ladies burst out a happy laughter, I thought: a like!
Life in the Spanish village, deep in the Pyrenees, will continue with its daily crispy mornings, torrid summer days and chatty evenings by the river, while us, we returned to our busy, traffic-jammed, virtualized lives. The mountain ladies taught us one thing though: no virtual hustle and bustle can beat sitting near a clear mountain river, sharing a laugh and tying up real connections.