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  • Writer's pictureFogar Mozárabe

The water source

Next to the Peñalba fountain there is a slate sundial on a wall in the old blacksmith's house. There is also, above it, a huge old chestnut tree clinging to the hillside and a pole clothesline where Dora used to dry her clothes.

The fountain is at the exit of the village towards the valley of the Friguera river and the Aquilian peaks, in it converge two of the narrow streets of medieval layout, one is called Arriba de la Fuente and the other Debajo de la Fuente, and is that the water pipes that does not cease, the pond and the washing place mean a lot in the life of the people. They are a reference full of symbolism, not in vain have seen the days and hours pass, the coming and going of locals and visitors. Both have quenched their thirst here, they have found a place to sit and listen to the music of the water, to ask about the way forward, to talk about anything at leisure...

At any time of day, but especially close to lunchtime, there was a coming and going of people with their water jugs, of all sizes, to fill them with the purest water in the stone spout. Years ago, many years ago, cows and other animals would also drink at the water trough on their way to and from the meadows and to work. Nicolás' white donkey, Porfirio's pair of cows, Tomás' or Marcelina's horses were part of many of those moments that we evoke today.Next to the fountain is the old school. It is not difficult to imagine the hustle and bustle of a bygone time with the village full of children. Because there are few things the little ones like more than playing at getting wet, splashing each other. A fountain has always been a place for play and adventure. Nor are women with their buckets of laundry kneeling in the washhouse. They are remembered scenes, the electric washing machines have ended, fortunately, with that tiring scrubbing of clothes.

From the fountain there are wide stairs to the upper part of the village, to the threshing floors and to the road that goes to the Alto de la Cruz, where the antennas of the rickety technology that keeps the village poorly communicated most of the days are located. On those stairs there are people, especially young people, who sit down to take a line to travel on the Net to other worlds. Over the years the fountain has updated its role in communal life.

On the night of San Juan and in the magosto, the bonfire competes in sonorities with the water while the tribe eats, sings and has fun to the sound of the bagpipes of Victor and other guest musicians. At the end, in the esconxuro, José Manuel recites summoning beings from the underworld, while he spins the brandy of the queimada that we will all drink at the end of the rite. When the last voices are silenced and the embers of the fire have been extinguished, the music of the water is felt again. The fountain, like life, returns to its daily routine.

Gustavo Docampo


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