A large and lovely part of our long-awaited trip to Tenerife consisted of a persistent pursuit of nothing.
There was a large chunk of this:
walks along the port..
watching the birds…oh so many birds!
.. some crazy amount of staring at the sky..(perhaps because of the birds)..
Photo Credit: Dear Husband
and equally large amount of looking out into the sea..
And what would stop us from staring when the sun melts the sky into the sea in the most beautiful sunsets ever?!
And while I had printed and carried about 50 pages worth of ‘must-sees’ on this massive volcanic island, we spent much of our days walking through nameless streets and claimless cliffs..
It would be forgivable to inject here a line such as ‘not all who wander are lost’, but then, some who wander definitely are lost, too. What perhaps no one mentions is, you may not even know how lost you are till you begin to wander. The value of the wandering is not in the destination- it is in the empty space it creates… that then begins to gravitate and attract things one didn’t even know one needed. For example, this book that attracted itself to me, and insisted to be read, though we had flown 5.5 hrs in an airplane with the 50 page list of places to see.
On Christmas day, we tried to locate a church, but there was obviously not a well-known one around, nor one whose spire you could identify from a distance. As we wandered on the promenade that evening, I said, “I can’t believe there is no church in this area. That would have been nice.” Just then, there was a huge ringing noise from somewhere. “That sounds like an ice-cream vendor’s cart.. let’s have a look!” I said and turned into the parallel street, just because we were right at the turn, and because the sound was sudden and loud, and even though I don’t like ice-cream, I thought why not. And there it was, a church!
We went in, and what a beautiful, unusual experience it was! It wasn’t mass, but a bunch of people sat spread out in different corners of the church, chanting together. The priest sat on the last bench! The chanting was led in turn by different ladies. There was no signalling as to who needed to take the baton, and yet it was seamlessly passed on. It was obviously a community that prayed together often. At the center of the church, their sonorous and kindly voices flowed in from different directions, filling the church and your mind.
Now and then someone with a formidable voice would turn and wave at another with a big smile. Just like that. Why so serious?
We had no way of predicting or planning for it, but the empty space of the aimless days found a way to bring us things that we needed, to rejuvenate our bodies and minds.
Yes we did eventually go up Mount Teide and see dolphins at Los Gigantes (I’ll get around to writing about that), which were magnificent experiences. And then we came full circle, closing the trip where we had started, with the rhythmic silence of the sea.
And so they went together, the high notes, and the pauses, making music-as they say.
Cover Image credit: Dear Husband