28 October, 2015


The private album


If you don´t speak Spanish but want to learn to, why don´t you start with this single word: “anafre”? It means brazier and though I admit it may not be the most useful word, especially in the modern world were you probably live, I insist that its beautiful sound makes it worth memorizing, don´t you agree? (It´s pronounced “a (like in Anna) – náfre”, not “anna-free” or something like it…)

En el primer paráfo en este texto propongo, al que habla inglés y quiere aprender a hablar español, que empieze con la palabra “anafre”. No porque sea muy útil, pero por el hermoso sonido de esta palabra!


Were we live, in San Cristobal de Las Casas, on an altitude just above 2000 meters (6000 ft), anafre is more than a sound, especially at this time of the year when it starts to get colder. At six o´clock in the afternoon the shadows begin to grow from the house´s corners and dusk is inviding your home, bringing cold with it. Anafre time is approaching… You then take your ocote out – that´s the local firewood, naturally full of resin, cut it small, fill your anafre with the charcoal you recently bought in the shop on the corner – you paid 24 pesos or a dollar and a half for a full bucket – and there you go…

Donde vivimos nosotros, en San Cristobal de las Casas, en una altitud de 200o metros, el anafre es más que un sonido, especialmente en el tiempo del año cuando empiezan a bajar las temperaturas. A las seis de la tarde las sombras empiezan a crecer desde las esquinas de la casa, y el anochecer invade nuestra casa, trayendo frío con él. La hora del anafre se acerca. Entonces sacas tu ocote, una leña local, llena de resina de forma natural. Lo cortas en pedacitos y llena tu anafre con el carbón que acabas de comprar en la tienda en la esquina – pagaste 24 pesos o un dolar y medio por una cubeta llena, y ahí partes…


The photo is from today, my youngest son Björn helping me to prepare the anafre. I was looking for a photo to start the blog with, when a line from a song as sticky as the ocote (and they are glutinous!) came to my mind: You can´t start a fire without a spark!

La fotografía es de hoy. Björn, mi hijo menor, me ayudó preparande el anafre. Estaba yo mirando por una foto para empezar mi blog, cuando me recordé de una canción igual de pegajoso como los palitos de ocote: You can´t start a fire without a spark! (Bruce Springsteen, en traducción: “no se puede hacer fuego sin tener una chispa”)


This was a minor blogpost. Just a spark.

Este blogpost no era muy largo. Solamente una chispa


(The illustration between the text blocks is a maya glyph for the nawal fire. If it makes you curious you can read more about that in the blogpost after this one.)

(La ilustración entre los párafos es un glyfo maya symbolizando el fuego. Si esto despierta tu curiosidad debes leer el blogpost que sigue después de este.)


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