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    We are travelers


    NidoStorks' nests, to which the same couples return year after year, are the perfect inspiration for this new collection for those who are seeking their home.

    I'd only been living in Logroño for a few months. It wasn't something I'd planned, but when the magazine I was working for broached the subject it seemed the right thing to do. Maybe a change of air would do me good. And since I am convinced there is a reason behind everything, I packed my bags set out for the land that accompanies the Ebro in its voyage to the sea.

    When I arrived at my new home, which the magazine had found, the truth is that I couldn't have been happier. Radiant sunlight flooded the enormous windows that framed a splendid stone bridge across the Ebro. The house, spacious and full of light in all its rooms, was the perfect place to begin my new life. I started putting some of the things I had brought with me in order, then went out to inspect the neighbourhood, which seemed quiet in spite of being so close the city centre. A few local stores with sweets and preserves peeping out of the windows, dry-goods shops, bars and even some parks where one could sit under the trees to enjoy a good book. But the best thing of all was undoubtedly the river bank. I immediately imagined myself taking long inspiring walks along those banks, and felt a wave of happiness. I went back to what I now felt was my home to get something to eat. I ate at the window, and after a cup of my favourite tea, Japanese Sencha, went on with the job of putting the boxes and suitcases that still occupied most of the living room in some kind of order.

    I got up early next morning and walked to work. The magazine was only about ten minutes away on foot. What a difference! It had previously taken me around an hour to get to work after putting up with endless traffic jams and bad-tempered drivers whose sudden accelerations and braking got on my nerves.

    At the office I was met by Laura, a cheerful, helpful young woman who said she would accompany me for the first few days until I "knew the ropes", as she put it. She introduced herself as "the Trainee" and I introduced myself as "the New Girl". Laughing, we took the lift.

    My first article was about the Alfaro storks. I had never heard of this enormous concentration of bird life whose couples return year after year to the same nest, rebuild it and incubate the next generation, which will surely return to the same place to built its own nests and nurture its own descendents.

    I spent the morning on documentation and after lunching with Laura in a small restaurant two minutes from the editorial office, I suggested going to Alfaro to see in situ what I had to describe. Laura's face lit up and we set off. We arrived an hour later. It was an impressive sight, with an amazing number of those birds, associated in my childhood with the arrival of new-born babies, populating the roofs of practically all the buildings.

    We visited the town hall where they gave us pamphlets and official information on the number of storks that return every year and the works that have been carried out to reinforce the roofing of the churches, town hall and other buildings occupied by the nests. Figures, statistics... In the end a mountain of data really suitable for my article, but what I really wanted was to know what these winged visitors meant in the day-to-day life of the inhabitants of the village. So back to the streets we went. The local inhabitants looked at us with curiosity: the same way as we looked at them, I suppose.

    Near the San Miguel Abbey, where according to the pamphlets the greatest number of these birds in Europe was concentrated, we found an old lace-maker who handled the bobbins as if she had spent her whole life doing nothing else.

    - Hello, we said almost in unison. We looked at each other and laughed. It seemed we made a good team.

    - Hello, she replied without lifting her eyes from the bobbins.

    - May we sit down?

    - Of course, she replied. Only then did she look up. A pair of eyes like the sky on a spring day observed us. In spite of her age they still conserved a sparkle I have seldom seen in human beings. What do you want? She asked. And without the slightest forethought these words spilled from my mouth: "We want to know what the storks mean". Her face showed no surprise. She looked up and after what seemed an eternity remarked: "it's useless to look for answers when it is always the answers that find us.

    You have come to Alfaro to find out what the storks mean. So be it."A shiver ran down my spine. Could it be true that it is the answers that find us and not, as I had always believed, we who find them? Maybe this new life was an answer looking for me. I had to pay attention: life had something to tell me.

    - There was once a time when the storks stopped coming. But years later they returned, and since then their numbers increase all the time. Some say there are around 500 but I reckon it´s more. At first the people were surprised at the return of the storks but the farmers said their prayers had been answered and the birds had come back to free them from the pests that made their harvests poorer than before. The women who go to mass every Sunday also took the credit: it had been them and their prayers. And the ecologists said that it had been due to their unceasing efforts.

    Now look, I don't like to take credit away from anyone, but I believe that what really happened is that one of these old storks remembered that this was the land of its birth, the land to which its parents had returned to die years later. At first only a small group of storks came with her, but as time went by there were more and more. She looked up, and that was all she said. Words could not describe the scene we were witnessing.

    This was the perfect inspiration for a new collection: storks' nests, to which the same couples return year after year. A place to come home to, a stable base in which life begins anew with each laying. Thus the new collection would represent the part of human nature that seeks its home, the place where our purest essence, that which makes us what we are, remains forever.