A Personal Affair

A few months ago I was asked by a percussionist friend if I would like to play at a farewell party for one of their friends on 2 June, of course I said yes – mainly because I love to play with these two percussionists who were going. I didn’t really think much more of this until a few weeks ago I asked where the woman in question was going and was told, actually she passed away and this is a party to celebrate her life.

Windmill (Molino) and Oven (Traditionally used to bake bread)

Windmill (Molino) and oven

The woman in question is a German artist called Paola who moved to Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata to set up a community based on sustainable living and working with the environment. This is a quote from her blog (spelling errors uncorrected), which you can visit by clicking here.
“Since 1997, starting out from a pile of stone, I was building together with friends and sevral wwoofers, rooms around a patio, stables, corals and the roof of one molino (windmill). Bornos means changing place, and we are situated 7 km from the next village in the natural park Cabo de Gata, near the sea side. We are working with goats, make our own cheese, do ecological agriculture and gardening. The idea is – when you work with nature, you work on yourself.”

The house and grounds are beautiful, as is the view from the terrace and in fact everywhere around the house and windmill.

Kasbah Molinos de Bornos

Kasbah Molinos de Bornos

I personally didn’t know Paola but by the end of the day after talking to both of her daughters, people who knew her and watching a slide show presentation of photographs of the last 15 years, I felt I like I did. Paola was seemingly a very unique individual with an equally unique outlook on life. Those whose lives she touched spoke fondly of her; she was loved and she left her mark on all that knew her.

Brief Ceremony

Start of the ceremony (Sunlight on the faces)

The Pyramid

The pyramid at sunset

There was a brief ceremony and at the pyramid where her ashes were placed, a presentation / speech was given by the father of Paola’s two daughters. Although the ceremony was conducted in German and I didn’t understand it, I could feel the love and compassion people had for Paola and that was a very powerful and moving feeling.

Following this, Paola’s ashes were carried up to the windmill, cast to the air and scattered by the breeze around the place she built with her own hands and her own imagination. Pieter, Ulli, Paola’s grandson and friend (sorry I don’t remember their names) and myself played some nice improvised music – a moving and beautiful moment.

Although I was asked to attend and play music, I felt privileged to be there and honored to be part of this personal affair. Later when I left, I had the feeling that I too knew Paola and was touched by her being.

Paola's Grandson and two daughters

Paola’s grandson and two daughters

I don’t know if they will ever see this blog post but I want to say a big thank you to Paola’s two daughters and grandson for letting me into their hearts, I’m sorry that I only remember the name of Beatriz (the woman in the middle). I came simply to play my saxophone and left feeling much more enriched for the experience of being there. The ceremony and celebration of her life was held on what would have been her 83rd birthday. The slide show presentation was captivating, between photographs of Paola were the most beautiful photographs of the landscape in and around her home in Bornos (between Las Negras & Fernan Peréz).

The daughter to the right is the mother of the grandson (to the left).

I met some amazing people during the day including a number of photographers, some of whom had contributed to the slide show. Because I had my saxophone, I didn’t take my camera but I had my trusty phone… yeah I know, not such good quality but better than nothing!!

One of the friends at the table

One of the friends at the table

The Toilet!

The Toilet with a view!

Snails on a cactus

Snails on a cactus

Sunlight through a wall hanging

Sunlight through a wall hanging

Ceramic detail on path

Ceramic detail on path

Sunset from the windmill

Sunset from the windmill


7 responses to “A Personal Affair

  1. Really touching account and it looks like such a beautiful spot too. Thanks for sharing xx

  2. Such a blessing to be let into the life of a wonderful person. Your music takes you to sacred places, it seems. I also love the photos you captured with your camera phone. I’m just now getting started on using a camera phone and can only hope to find as interesting images.

      • Yeah, I hear you. I just upgraded to an iPhone and am playing with Instagram. Check out Snapseed. It’s a hoot! I think you’ll like it. I processed a photo through Snapseed, then ported it to Instagram where I finished it off. Lots of fun.

  3. Pingback: A Personal Affair | Martyn Thompson Photography·

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