Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis,
e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem;
non quia vexari quemquamst jucunda voluptas,
sed quibus ipse malis careas quia cernere suavest.
Sweet, when the winds turn the wide sea to maelstrom
Here from the shore, is the sight of the trouble of others
Not because it is nice to rejoice at one’s ruffled feathers
But as it’s sweet to look at those evils that you may be free from.
Lucretius’ hexameters can be read as a universal ode to the holidays.
Walking barefoot on Novo Sancti Petri’s endless beach, it is easy to smile at yourself toiling on the treadmill of a suddenly distant rat race.
Nature roars at you, the surf breaking on the exfoliating sand, the warm sky blending into the bluest of seas.
Land and sea, dry and wet, this meeting of opposites is what makes us feel happiest.
Yesterday night in moorish Vejer, at the end of a moreish dinner, a group of folk musicians wearing historical Catholic costumes assembled out of nowhere in the street and started singing satirical songs about Communist uprise.
My friend Fabrizio explained the beautiful paradox of tradition and revolution embedded in Andalusian culture.
He reinforced his point by explaining how, for example, Gypsies are revered masters of Flamenco rather than unwelcome immigrants or benefit cheats.
But colourful variety and the happy synergy of opposites are not a Spanish prerogative: as Lucretius so eloquently sang to us a couple of thousand years ago, they are embedded in Nature.