“no hay en la vida nada como la pena
de ser ciego en granada“
this phrase, discovered engraved upon a stone wall in granada, spain by happenstance, yet has stayed with me since the moment i discovered it. it reminded me of the simple staggering power of words and of views.
there is nothing in life
like the pain
of being blind
i noticed it when i’d first arrived in granada. it was hotter i swear than i’d ever felt outside, even being from the south. the wheel on my suitcase, packed with a year’s worth of my belongings, had just broken off on the cobblestone streets. i’d dragged 40lbs of cumbersome luggage up granada’s many spanish steps to my hostel… just to learn that they had to given my room away. because i’d missed my check-in time. because i’d missed my train from sevilla. they’d tried to call, of course, but my phone had been stolen the night before.
and so there i was in my predicament. i couldn’t help it, i started crying. they booked me another hostel across town. completely defeated, i kicked my suitcase back down the steps. when i finally greeted it at the bottom of the steps,i found this phrase, engraved into a pillar on the wall. no hay nada en la vida como la pena de ser ciego en granada. and in my “misery” i paused. i breathed in. my lip stopped quivering. i noticed as the sun was setting, my eyes were drawn up the mountain just before me. and standing proudly in front of me the alhambra, illuminated. a site i’d been waiting to see my entire life. and the impact of it hit me all at the same time. and i cried, this time, not out of frustration, but out of pure gratitude. that i was in granada, and indeed, that i was not blind, in sight nor to any of the staggering significance that had brought me to this very moment. broken suitcases and overbooked hostels be damned. i was alive. and i was in granada.
there are so many scenes that have moved me to tears by their intense beauty. so many experiences that have made me uncertain if i’m even able to take them in. i’ve witnessed moments that have made me clutch my chest lest my heart jump right out because of the stunning humanity that exists all over the world. i’ve been reminded in those moments that no matter how difficult the path may seem at the time. I’ve learned that no matter how low the trough of the wave is, the crest will be so so high that you won’t even be able to see the bottom. significance hits you this way and sweeps you up, just at the right moment, and just in time. always. all you have to do is seek it.
so this is why we travel. to understand that there is nothing in life more painful than to remain stagnant in a world so beautiful, than to be deaf to “i love you” “te quiero” “je t’aime” in so many languages, to be numb to the tastes and flavors and traditions of so many rich cultures.
and to be blind
tell me, then, what beautiful scene has left so so happy to have your sense of sight, and adventure, and the propensity to appreciate them both.