I am sitting and writing at what used to be my husband’s grandfather’s desk. A large, dark wood table with a wide-armed armchair. The computer on top of a leather briefcase, on the table two boxes of cigarettes, a letter opener and an ink dryer. Wooden windows and shutters through which I can see the fields of La Mancha. A huge brick fireplace, terracotta floors and a side table where different generations play cards together.
These are not my roots, they are my husband’s, but I have made them mine and they will be mine for my children. Because they have the privilege of having roots, of knowing and living with their father’s many uncles and cousins as if they were their own.
A large house in the middle of nowhere, that Manchegan nowhere that stretches as far as the eye can see. The taste of moje, cheese and quince jelly, the breakfast croutons, the chicken eggs from María’s farmyard and the wine from the cooperative. The walks with some cousins or others, the croquet games, the carrasca and the conversations at the very long table where we sat in strict order of age.
The roots, the extended family, or even very extended, the land itself, the people, the countryside and everything that shapes a way of being. And how little we value it. I have never had those roots, that land that was “my land” and now that I have it, I see how little it is appreciated by those who were born in it.
And we left the village, the simple, cheap, homemade, sometimes self-sufficient and austere life, where time passes slowly. If we have to go to the city, at least let us carry the land in our hearts because our roots are a privilege and a treasure of generations that makes us immensely rich.