Cortijo Almagreras, a hidden gem in the Alpujarra
It is summer in the South of Spain and we are house sitting at Cortijo Almagreras. Three happy dogs are running around over de 2,5 hectares as long as the high temperatures permit, and I, I am sitting in a deckchair on the lawn, near the biggest pond where two sparkling dragonflies have decided to drop their tiny eggs in. It is so beautiful here.
Yesterday, after the tenth or more dip in the natural pool-pond, I lay stretched out on the grass in the dappled shade of various trees, listening to a myriad of sounds; frogs, birds, cicadas and hundreds of bees humming in the top of a huge eucalyptus that is covered in blossom. Fifty shades of green accompanied by an orchestra of small creatures.. what a habitat to live in!
A beam of sunlight catches the big aloe next to the smaller pond where lotus flowers and frogs share the little bit of water surface. Behind the aloe grow several yuccas that are blooming and stretch their stunningly beautiful white flowers in the air, backed by a bright blue morning glory that has found its way to the crown of an old olive tree, a so-called centenario. And this is just about a small part of a large and well maintained, organic certificated piece of land.
Early morning I love to sit on the rustic bench, watching the sun rise over the tops of the Corona and the Contraviesa mountain range, colouring them purple and orange before it hits the spot on the lay-line in the orchard where I am meditating. As soon as the golden rays touch the dried flower buds, cicadas burst out singing. I start wandering around, from the apricot tree to the apple tree, to the oranges, to the bed with strawberries and a shaded patch that is lightened up with echiniceas. Another beautifully shaped centenario drops its shade on the dirt path to the cortijo..
A few days ago it was the first time I witnessed the water of the Rio Poqueira coming down through the ancient acequia (main water channel) and I helped to direct it over the land through all the small cabezadas (hand-dug channels) by taking away some stones and placing them elsewhere, or by digging a new channel on the spot. That is how it has been done for over a thousand years in the Alpujarra. For two days melting snow from the Sierra Nevada flows over this part of the mountain and by directing it to the right places it provides us with an abundant harvest of organic fruits and veggies.
Now I have felt how this work affects my connection with nature and in particular with the spot I live on, I understand why it has never changed in all those years, it is magical.
I know lots of people know this hidden gem already from the Dance Camp or from visiting otherwise. Many, as I did myself, have cursed the rough track that leads to the finca or are set back by having neighbours so close, but, living here for three months now in the small casita and enjoying the peaceful vibes, the quiet companionship of the people nearby, the magnificent vistas, the dark silent starry nights and, above all, the warm embrace of Mother Nature 24/7, makes those inconveniences fade away and living here a real privilege.
This is how I want to live, in deep connection with the earth, learning from, and working with her and in doing so being so greatly rewarded.
I am so grateful.