A VISIT TO GRANADA AND ALPUJARRA:

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THE VALLEY OF THE ETERNAL FATHER, ÓRGIVA, ALPUJARRA, SPAIN

In April 2008, I met my daughter, Elizabeth Snowden, in Granada, Spain, where we stayed for several days and then drove to the valley, not far from Órgiva in Alpujarra—a region that extends along the south slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains—where she had been living since the fall of 2007. She ended up living there until November 2008, nearly two years. Although my stay was brief, I came away with an impression that has deepened over time as Lizy and I corresponded and then conversed. Like equivalent places in California, the valley is a kind of litmus test of civilization’s ability to leave well enough alone and, equally, of the constant, seductive, even crazy-making pull that civilization exercises nonetheless—no matter how far off the grid you think you’ve gone. Yet Alpujarra has a real history, both a place of refuge after the fall of Granada and a region originally terraced for agriculture by the Hispano-Latin citizens of the Roman Empire who also put in place its elaborate fresh water channels. What follows are excerpts from the notes I made at the time, along with a brief postscript.  —John Parman

Photo by John Parman.

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