Lily, the cat and queen of the placeta according to Antonio. She is drinking from the fountain on the patio where we hope to live when we come in 2023 - image: courtesy of Deborah Loesch-Griffin

October 4, 2022 – Day 20 of Wonder

A view from our apartment balcony on Elvira Street where unannounced to the residents and merchants they began construction on the street the morning of our arrival. We had eaten dinner the night before when we arrived from our flight at 10:30 at the little restaurant, Paprika at the beginning of the road – image: courtesy of Deborah Loesch-Griffin

Alone

Alone
And yet all around
are people, tongues
in motion, rolling Rs
and spitting Ps,
separating breath
and tongue, with vowels.
It’s a panel from a
Sergio Garcia Sanchez
planing comic,
but in 3D motion.
Still, I am, alone,
ferreting my way
through sprawling
pairs, trios, and groups
gathered in a barrage
of gossip,

to find the Farmacia,
a platano or two,
arroz blanco, where
none exists in this
chain of Serbian restaurantes—
arroz amarillo solamente.
I arrive at the correo
first in line,
only to be held in
admonishment by Sue2,
their version of the postmistress,
whose tongue and breath, Rs and Ps
leave me gaping and confused.
Three stamps affixed to a postcard,
two letters—“no los use.”
They will not make the flight
across the Atlantic,
the massive land,
and I think of the three,
so marked, posted without care
in the yellow metal bin on the Grand Via.
Even the return address,
wrong or absent
will not find its way home,
where home is a verb
positioned to track
our whereabouts.
I return “home” with
fewer Euros,
a bag of rice
and set out to
cook and heal the sick.

Looking down at the Arco at the entrance to the Albaycin in Granada, and where Elvira street begins. We had an apartment there for the two weeks of our stay in Spain – image: courtesy of Deborah Loesch-Griffin

October 6, 2022 – 22nd Day of Wonder

People gather at end of the day and into the night at La Mirador to take in the views of the Alhambra—a wonder of the world in itself as over time, starting in 1238 as the first Islamic structure by the Emirate of Granada and through to Isabel and Ferdinand’s rein. As per Wikipedia:
The Alhambra was one of the first Islamic monuments to become the object of modern scientific study and has been the subject of numerous restorations since the 19th century.[9][10] It is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[1]
During the Nasrid era, Alhambra was a self-contained city separate from the rest of Granada below.[6] It contained most of the amenities of a Muslim city such as a Friday mosque, hammams (public baths), roads, houses, artisan workshops, a tannery, and a sophisticated water supply system – image: courtesy of Deborah Loesch-Griffin
“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” Diane Ackerman, b. 1948

“We’re in the width of it right now,” Shaun declares.

First Light Meditation

How ordinary and wondrous it can be. Last night, smelling plastic burning in the courtyard below, we shuttered the windows and cocooned ourselves into Apartamente F at C/Elvira 117. 

Suddenly alone, resuming the last of three episodes we could fit in before bed, we found ourselves in isolation—a quarantine of sorts as dinner was eaten in while Shaun makes his way through gastritis. Not covid, we confirmed, but restrictive, nonetheless.

The Lincoln Lawyer entertained us to sleep.
We slept, without midnight or mid-morning awakenings.
We woke to a “paper copy” of the International version of the New York Times—used to be the Herald Examiner 20 years ago.
Café con leche.
A day-old croissant.
The constant thrum of motorbikes and cars as we open the doors to the second-floor balcony—a balcony we cannot sit out on—only accept what light and air is offered.
I finish the final three Visa applications for Shaun.
Send them for review.
One task off the checklist; one I can control before the entire packet makes its way to the Spanish consulate, where we will follow in person, awaiting their approval to let us live the width of our lives for five months.
I write this a.m. from the Albaycin, realizing, I am living the width of my life already.

A little organic produce shop off a small street in the Albaycin. I purchased lechuga, tomato, aguacate, y mango for a salad I made one evening with a little goat cheese – image: courtesy of Deborah Loesch-Griffin

Deborah Loesch-Griffin has called Virginia City, Nevada home for forty years, She earned her doctoral degree at Stanford University: an Ed.S. in Evaluation (1986) and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Child Development (1987). She raised her two sons with her husband Shaun. In Virginia City, Deb and Shaun co-founded a community development and social justice non-profit, Community Chest, Inc.  

In 1998, Deb founded Turning Point, Inc, a woman-owned business that works in partnership with organizations and communities, and designs and facilitates integrated spaces and events for women, youth, and community groups. TPI still provides coaching and capacity-building in organizational development and leadership.  

Over the years, Deb has worked as an early childhood educator, a school counselor, a Director of the Research and Evaluation Center in the College of Education, and later as an Associate Dean of the College of Human and Community Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). This college center continues today as part of the School of Community Health Sciences at UNR.   

Deb helped develop and launch the state’s first service-learning initiative in the 1990s, which created opportunities for communities, schools, higher education, and youth and adults to partner together for social change through learning opportunities. This initiative brought K-16 students into the community to solve local issues.    

Deb’s current work guides women into the Spirit In Action (SIA) series. She organizes triannual gatherings for Women In Transition (WIT) along with events that integrate the arts and culture in an effort to counter divisiveness and bring people into community through shared experiences.

Deb is a world citizen, having traveled abroad to develop communities in Central and South America, Africa, Algeria, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Thailand, and Northern Ireland. 


Founded in 2020, the Sierra Nevada Ally is a self-reliant 501c3 nonprofit publication with no paywall, a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News, offering unique, differentiated reporting, factual news, and explanatory journalism on the environment, conservation, and public policy, while giving voice to writers, filmmakers, visual artists, and performers. We rely on the generosity of our readers and aligned partners.


The Sierra Nevada Ally has been selected to receive $15,000 in matching funds from NewsMatch 2022 for our dedication to serving our residents with local news about issues that impact their lives and support civic engagement. 

NewsMatch 2022 is a fundraising initiative sponsored by The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN). We are a full member of INN, one of only two such publishers in Nevada. Between November 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

As an added bonus, we were also recently selected to receive additional partner matching funds to add to the 1:1 match provided by NewsMatch 2022. The Loud Hound Partner Fund awarded us these additional 1:1 matching funds to cover important civic, environmental, cultural, and political issues that impact our citizens’ lives.

Join us and triple your support of the Sierra Nevada with a gift today.

We are on a journey of steady growth and innovation. In 2023, we will expand our newsroom and launch new creative partnerships to amplify our residents’ voices and surface community members’ stories, questions, and concerns. Our goal – provide information relevant to our readers’ needs.

Support for The Sierra Nevada Ally with a gift anytime between November 1st and December 31st. Donate here.

On behalf of all of us at the Sierra Nevada Ally, thank you for your generous support.