There are a few places on Earth that captivate you to the point of blissful surrender. Whether it was the Angel Glacier appearing spiritually from behind dark stormy clouds in Jasper or the local singer lamenting his long lost motherland in the middle of a hot summer diner in Belgrade, these images are personal, private and their significance cannot be conveyed to anyone other than you. The fortified palaces of Alhambra in Granada as seen from Albayzin against the snow-clad Sierra Nevada mountains represent one of those moments for me.
“A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it. … There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me’. But beauty is fugitive, being frequently found in places to which we may never return or else resulting from rare conjunctions of season, light and weather. How then to possess it?” – Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel.
I struggled with this statement at Granada. I wanted to just stay there, gazing at the sights till it burned into my synapses, never to be etched out. I wanted to capture the depths of the valleys between the Alhambra and me and the smells of the fresh crisp winter evening in ways that I will always remember them. I wanted to memorize the exact shades and sequence of white to yellow to orange to pink to violet to blue on the snow capped Sierras as they reflected off the cold setting sun. How does one do that? One can simply take consolation in the fact that you were there, you saw it, and it mattered to you, and will do so forever.