A threshing circle is about sixty feet in diameter. It is built of cobbled stones spiralling from the centre outwards. There are many of them in the Alpujarra mountain range. There is no longer any need to separate the grain from the chafe as wheat is not grown in this part of Spain any more. Threshing circles are now protected sites. Wild flowers and grasses push up between the cracks. The wind remains. A threshing circle is always placed in a position most open to the wind with valleys or ravines all round. They afford the best views and Yolanda had discovered one just outside her chosen village within a week of her arrival. Every morning at dawn she would leave her rented house and walk to the threshing circle. As she left the village she smiled in anticipation. The noises of an awakening community, endearing as they were, now receded behind her. She heard only the song of birds. Upon stepping on to her circular sanctuary she inhaled deeply and once again, as every morning, she expressed thanks for the wide open space, for the strong breeze, for the paradoxical sense of tranquillity and shelter in such an exposed spot.
A small grove of cypresses stood close to the circle, and a stone wall that was the only remains of an ancient dwelling. A dog rose grew across what would once have been a corner of the house but which now spilt its old stones down the steep incline of the mountain side. An old shoe and a broken water flask lay abandoned amongst the rubble and fallen foliage.
Copyright Y K Randall, Granada, 2007