Before breakfast the sea is calm, the sun low in the cloudless sky. The water is tranparent. Where I am swimming there is a golden track leading east to west by which to navigate. For a brief moment an arc of silver sparks rises out of the sea and descends again like a dolphin; it is a school of small fishes, just a few feet away from me.
Last night we dine with friends in their garden. They are Catalan but the language of the garden is Japanese, Zen to be precise. The gravel is raked daily and a small fountain bubbles with a tranquil sound. In the still air two candles flicker. We discuss haiku, haiku in English and French. "Here", he says, "haiku is translated from the Japanese into English or French rather that directly into Spanish". Artur is an archer as well as a painter and sculptor.
From the balcony I watch different people walking from one end of the little beach called La Playa de San Sebastian, and back. And some which I recognise from last year. There is a woman standing up to her ankles in the sea. She stands perfectly still but sways from the waist and moves her arms according to the rules of what must be an oriental exercise system. At times her arms are raised directly above her head as though in an act of worship. Another long-legged health addict uses the elegant, stainless steel railings above the beach as an exercise bar. She places one leg on top leaning towards her foot, and repeats the routine with the other leg. For a moment it is like a ballet school.
The elegance of the Zen garden sounds delightful, as does your friend Artur.
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