Frivolous Paella

I just found this little remembrance I wrote as some kind of speed exercise in a local writing workshop I attended here.  I remember the exercise started out with us drawing and then writing about our house or apartment where we live or have lived.  Seems naive to me now, after only 8 years and  I am also kind of annoyed with myself for writing so often about Paellas. 

Frivolous Paella

Staring out at the great greenish-blue expanse filling my kitchen window I remind myself that I should learn to sail.  The olive oil crackles for my attention, actually burning my forearm,  but cannot disturb my searching of the far coast for any coves or inlets, most accessible only by sea, that I have yet to explore. I add the ingredients for my sofrito as the oil has become very hot, hoping to achieve the burnt, bitter edge to my onions, garlic and peppers without ruining the oil. Stirring these with unconscious, frenzied swipes across Teflon, I return my gaze southeasterly, beyond the deep blue now slowly fading to purple, and notice the isle of Cabrera, seldom visible but for a few bright and very clear days a year.

Panorámica de Palma desde el castillo de Bellver

View from same angle/direction as my Gomila apartment (little further up the hill)

Map of Mallorca showing location of Cabrera.

Map of Mallorca showing location of Cabrera.

            At this time of year most everyone I know here  shares a similar thought: “Why would anybody want to live anywhere other than the Mediterranean?” These feelings will dissipate as the yearly invasion of Northern Europeans completely alters the landscape and pace of life here.  At the point where the ingredients of my sofrito  just about disappear  I add the saffron, prawns and a few of those ugly, little, nameless fish that the monger at the market insists are indispensable for my stock.  A sudden panic seizes my thoughts as I notice how close I am to deadline and I curse myself for once again finding other activities to avoid the emotional turmoil that writing music causes me. Well, I must press on with this more immediate task of finishing my Paella.

            Removing the lid of my chicken stock jar, I am disturbed by the greenish pallor; perhaps I should not have experimented with using chicken feet in the stock.  I leave them in anyway and add some squid and cuttlefish. Maybe if I could learn to rappel, I could reach the little cove I saw from high up on that cliff; the one with the crystalline pool between two tall outcroppings that looks irresistible for diving. Most of the outdoor activity clubs here in Mallorca are for locals only or set up as very expensive cheap thrills for tourists. Unfortunately, I fall somewhere in between.

            As the combined stock is bubbling quite emphatically now I carefully measure out and pour in my rice. “ Miquel, ..Miquelette”  I suddenly hear from my other terrace echoing off all the tall buildings that surround in that direction, the street-side of my building. I recognize the yelp as Concha, arriving a little too early to read through and revise the first drafts of the music that I was supposed to have prepared for her.

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