La Candelaria on Robert Harvey’s spirit
“What hand dares to take the fire?”, William Blake told me as he walked towards the Benagalbón fields during its festivities in a February 2nd of a year that I cannot remember.
Fields of silence surrounded and surround this village hanging from the page of time. The last goats of the mountains water in these limits of the arcane tourist. The almond tree in flower is thirsty of the sea and willing my brushes to catch it. I have come to this party of the future from my beloved Huerta del Ángel, in the Macharaviaya border, to get to know once more the strength of the poem and the purification of light.
Can anyone give me a light for a cigarette? There is a pleasant memory of me at Colegio de la Candelaria as they have devoted me a corner for exhibitions. I have to say that it is an honour to have such a space, but a priceless whim would be to try magro con tomate. A delicatessen that it is praised across the five continents by those who come over to the restaurant in the main square through these winter days.
What authentic parties! Since I lived in Carolina, I cannot remember such picturesque landscapes of men and women celebrating. Would I be able to picture them into a scene in my paintings? I have been mentioned as pop, and well-known are these generous human beings who tell me “más vale ver al lobo entre las ovejas que al sol el día de las candelas”. It is a sunny day today, would it be the climatic effect? I hope everything went well with the olive. Now it still smells of the oil mill during the collection of the last alpechín, and everything is mixed with the sugary smell of firewater that those verdiales, regulars to this party, drink. What would I give to taste a buñuelo. What would I give to get to know how to play the cymbals.
In this hollow, I remember the frenetic rhythm of jazz that I left in Carolina and San Francisco. Dreams are determined to give me images that I do not want to lose, that I must squeeze between my fingers and paint with memory. Jesus comes from his Presentation in the Temple or… is it Joseph? What a most admirable father, bearing that putative power. All parents should be a little humble like him. How well accepted by the women from Benagalbón. The future came here before. The future was the past.
I am surprised by the magic of the moment when Simeón and Ana celebrate the lights that will lead a new town born 2019 years ago. All of this after a man who could be the son of a builder from the real-estate bubble of today. Peladillas and peanuts fall on the bride who is already a mother. Look, what a gracious Virgin. I have always preferred these less painful images than those you see during Easter. If I had to paint one, I would paint them with Ella Fitzgerald’s face.
Paintings and more paintings are jostling, and you do not know which one you should look. Over that hill, a couple goes up to the olive groves, to the almond trees that can be seen far away from the cemetery. Lorca would have had much to write in this Axarquía town, due to the whitewashed houses and to the passion relegated to the darkness of the night.
But is it that no one has a fire to help this poor blind man who comes from the afterlife to get tired of the colours and smells of burning wood in the days when the sea howls?! Well, I’ve been lucky, a good Samaritan let me get close to the candle that still lights in this little piece of land planted with avocados.
I hear a song from the background: Sé de un lugar, sé de un lugar, para ti, abre tu corazón. Que hoy vengo a buscarte amor. Te llevaré a un lugar donde broten las flores amor(*)… and the cymbals, the tambourine and the violins are playing. It’s Triana. They have come to play and remind me those festivals, those happy years in which I was hanging from the proximity of the sea and the docile, soft and, at the same time, untamed landscapes that look out to this blanket of blues that is the calm Mediterranean.
I’m going to dream that I can consecrate myself to the fire, that I can touch the flame and not burn myself. I’m going to keep drinking along with these locals and listening to Diana Floreada when the sun comes because those who wanted to paint as children have pupils full of sunrises.
Look! Here comes the crier. His voice is hurt by so much praise. And the cars come in procession from Moclinejo or Torre de Benagalbón. These are navy blue days with dark green that tastes like sardines, sweet convent, green sleeves, wild daisies floor. It tastes like dreams that have to be fulfilled if we throw them to the candle and the Virgin blesses us.
What a good idea is to come back from my past to the Benagalbón festivities.
(*) Lyrics from Sé de un lugar by Triana.