Climb/Subir

On October 31 there is a man who climbs the Catedral Nueva in Salamanca. Without assistance or security he makes his way up hundreds of narrow staircases. His first summit is the clock. He peeks his head out a tiny door in the face. He begins to tell a story. It’s about his family. It’s about how generations before him have checked the tower every year since a devastating earthquake in Lisbon put permanent fissures in the cupola all the way in Salamanca. His pride is beating like the drum he carries with him. The crowds below cheer him on, although a good half or more are foreigners, like me–struggling to understand why a man would do this. In ruffly, restricting clothes, with ungainly baggage, he pushes to the top. Stopping at intervals to literally proclaim his story from the rooftops. It is his life. And we are his captive audience. The atmosphere below is traditional dances and food, crowds and bustle, and in this moment he gets to shout through the ordinary why what is happening matters. And for the day we join in. Stopping to stare at the man 92 meters high with silly clothes and a drum and a flute and a dove in a cage.   But I think I get it. I want people to know me and my story and my family. I want what I do to be important. I think we all do. And I think there is a story most important that everyone should know. And even if it was just for a day, if I got to tell the world those things, I too would climb recklessly high in funny clothes with random objects to shout it from the cupola. I would move far away from home for a long time and leave all I know, all I hold dear behind to tell stories about why it all matters.

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