When I arrived to pick them up, I thought about how abrupt the change from August to September can be in many villages in Galicia. It was pouring rain, and Maruxa and Máxima already had all the bags ready to go by the door even though I had arrived an hour early than agreed. We packed everything well in the car because we had clothes, potatoes, onions, gourds, green beans, apples…and after saying goodbye to the few neighbors that remained there, we headed towards the city with a mixture of sadness and nostalgia, but also tranquility. That house has been in need of renovation for more than forty years, and every summer it reminds us of this with a small disaster (this year, it was the toilet drainage that had its turn).
The case is that, suddenly, when September arrives, there is no one left. One no longer hears the noise of the young on the roads, there are no bicycles, there are no cars parked on impossible corners on the narrow streets of the town…And it is a radical change for the village as well as for those who occupy the space of their past (or their ancestors’ past). And it is a scene that is repeated each year in the small villages of the Galician rural, producing a complex reflection: if we are so happy there, in our own familiar nook, what is it that prompted the inability to enjoy that life all year long? What led us to leave behind that contact with nature, with the real rhythm of things, to accept and adapt ourselves to that other reality where we seem automatons?
Perhaps the pandemic pushed many to reflect about this subject, particular those of my generation, but today I ask what would they think, those who left that life behind to now return to it to regain freedom even if it’s only for one month out of the year.