I Love Feeling Savagely Beautiful in Spain, My Land of Light and Shadow.
I flew to Spain on the equinox. As light met shadow, I went to an ancestral place that holds both for me.
Spain is beautiful, its vibrations resonate with me the way only special places in the Mediterranean do, a hum that seems to come both from within and without harmonizes, and I feel alive in a way that’s intrinsically personal and yet somehow shared with those who came before — people I’ve never met but carry in my eyes and laugh and tastes in ways both known and unknown to me.
I love it here. Balmy and sweet, the air seems to carry traces of torrid tales. I study it, my breath becomes more than just life force taken in and feels like something alchemized within me, the past and the present merge and undulate like the entwining currents of meeting oceans.
I am both Spanish and Native American, the twining flow churning fables of desire and domination excite me. I am just as much the carnivorous conquistador as the noble native, I am the sailor, the savage, the midpoint and the merging.
I love to see both the shadow and light in these archetypal figures, I like when I feel them meld and the shades mingle, when I can see the spirit of adventure and enterprise in the Spaniard and the warlike fierceness of the New Indian.
The humanity of both is arrayed in a splendor beyond moralism and enters something closer to divine human understanding, consonance maybe, or dynamic wholeness, only glimpsed briefly like a flicker on the horizon, impossible to map and navigable only with empathy and a willingness to lose the way to find something new.
I think the people here see something familiar in me, there seems to be a quick tracing of my face and form, eyes moving around me, and if I keep my slow, open American voice to myself, it lasts long enough to map.
A flicker of recognition gives way to uncertainty, a question forms, eyes darting around my features on missions of reconnaissance yield more questions than answers. Darting assuredly past an aquiline nose, the gaze is marooned on the swell of an over-ripe mouth, the love boat of familiarity moored on the swell of a Cupid’s bow overrunning the expected cartography.
Lost at sea, the expedition explores an unexpected landscape and finds a new Indian on the planes of my face.
Eyes lashed savagely like the backs of galley slaves frame irises disconcertingly light, mirrored pools reflect soothing emerald illumination but are surrounded by dark woods. Uncharted territory seems to provoke an uneasy awareness, the moment is then untethered, and can be claimed by anyone, like sunken treasure in international waters.
Even the grandest ship can sink in a sudden storm, just as an inviting forest spring can shift from an Edenic bower’s basin of enchantment to an aqueous snare of night stalked enclosure. Nature churns together what she pleases, and gnashes delicacies and dynasties both with delight.
It’s this ferment that unsettles I think, the inability to instantly categorize, to identify. The flux of Dionysian mixing terrifies those comforted by consistency and codes. The abhorrence of the mixed-race person is I think the desire and repulsion that nature’s perpetual roil elicits.
The amalgamation of the identifiable and the unknown thrusts both eye and mind on a frail partition, beneath which the hungry seething of the sea can be sensed.
I enjoy this, siren-like I invite the land-bound to feel the sea’s embrace.
Everywhere in Spain colonial monuments spring up, erupting like gloating boasts, swollen in grandiose power and now twisting in the Spanish sun, baroque and bloated, tangled and torpid, like ripe fruit left to languish on the vine, entering a new season in imploding decadence.
Gold-edged and gleaming, these monuments are the echo of a triumphant exaltation caught in the throat as the heart catches an arrow, loosed from the bow of Cupid, or an Indian hidden in shadow.
The beauty for me is in finding the human skeins and witnessing the interlacing without scripted societal imposition. To observe the act of viewership, of myself and others, watching the reactions to history being embodied in all its confusing, confounding raiment.
To simply be, to behold, to breathe in this place as both an individual living my story, and as a continuation of a collective saga painted in salty blood and sanguine sea.
To own all aspects of your story is, in my mind, the truest act of self-expression. To own your own complicated feelings — your vanity, aggression and self-defensiveness, swirling unique and labyrinthine like the veins that carry your vital rhythm — and seeing how it unspools, enmeshing with others like the trade routes of your fore-bearers.
I love it, I love all of it. The rapturous beauty, the thrall and fear of the unknown, the space I seem to occupy, the conjunctio, the split resolved, or in creative friction, forever warring and forever loving each other, reflecting each other, in both shadow and light.
Maren Zweifler enjoys teaching Yoga with a focus on free movement and intrinsic shapes, emphasizing spinal fluidity and innate, primal posture. Deeply inspired by movement systems that embrace nature like Sridaiva and Continuum Movement. He completed a 500 hour certification in SF and has taught both there and in Austin where he honed his skills teaching private classes tailored to the individual needs of his clients. He created a wellness/yoga program at a non-profit. These experiences allowed him to explore both the unique individuation of the physical experience in one-on-one sessions, and the commonalities of the human form that can be witnessed in large groups. You could connect with Maren on Instagram.