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Concept of the month March 2010: PAVING STONES

Five years after living there, I returned to Andalusia this month. In my village, they had laid down a tram track and renovated part of the main street. They also replaced the paving stones. Although they were similar to the old ones, I noticed it at once. Alongside the beach road, the paving stones hadn't changed. I saluted the sea and wallowed in memories.

And I walked on those paving stones again. Those paving stones I would recognize out of thousands, ridged and coloured, resting by the breakers. Paving stones as smooth and sound as marble. Paving stones painted with a pattern of two large clinched checks, only to be found in my village. Paving stones over which I used to run, smooch, stroll, stagger, stamp and stand still. Paving stones across which I took my first steps as a translator.

The best of these paving stones, however, was that they also make music. When you rolled a pebble across them, it sounded like a xylophone. As it bounced over the magic stones, you could hear the one message, repeated in varying melodies: “Welcome back!”

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Pepijn de Boer MA

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