I forgot to pack my watch. In fact, I haven’t worn it in at least a month. I had come to rely on my cell phone to tell me the time. I always took it with me when I left the house. It served as my timekeeper after I awoke each morning. It helped me arrive on time, much as a watch would. Unfortunately, my cellphone does not work in Europe, so I now have to rely on other ways to tell me what the time of day is in this little pueblo I am in.
Instead I wake to the sound of the long horn sounding the arrival of the panadero (the man who sells bread), propane, egg, dairy or library trucks. (Yes, there is a mobile library that brings books to the pueblos once a week!) As I drift back to sleep, I know that eventually I will hear the bells of la iglesia ringing. One for each hour, or a solitary bell to mark the ½ hour. Sometimes I hear the shepherd pass nearby, taking his flock out for the day. It is three minutes of cacophony with baas, maas and the jingling of tiny tin bells. Their bleating becomes a distant sound before I fully realize what it is.
Sounds in the kitchen across the yard tell me that la abuela, the grandma is preparing food for lunch. The hot sun on my shoulders as I cross the open patio on my way back to the house from lunch tells me that it is too warm to take the children to the park. As I settle in with a book for la siesta, the footsteps and murmuring of voices on the sidewalk below tell me of the people coming and going to the little bar down the street.
Shouts of children playing in the street and chasing one another with enthusiasm let me know that I can finally say to my children, “Yes, we can go to the park now.” The falling shadows and goose-bump inducing wind arrive to send us back in again for baths and evening preparations. The waning daylight suggests that it is time for la cena (dinner). After the meal, teeth brushing and enough time to get lost in a book, it is time to end the day.
Maybe watches are over-rated. All I need is the sounds of el pueblo for me to know what time it is.