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Chapter 0 The Marine Equilibrists
A sea bathed by the sun: the Mediterranean. An unprecedented wealth of life in reefs at risk of disappearing.
This is the story of Equilibrio Marino, a group of people committed to a purpose: to preserve and recover the ecosystem of our sea. It is the story of a collaboration with Cosentino in pursuit of a common goal: to give back to the sea the life it gives us.
The Mediterranean, the Mare Nostrum, our sea. More than a map, a climate, a civilization or a painting. The Mediterranean is a unique way of life that involves living it in a special and intense way. A particular way of seeing, thinking and acting that has influenced the entire planet.
The Mediterranean is an ode to biodiversity,
to the balance of life.
Our connection with the sea, the sun and nature forges a friendly, smiling, generous and earthy character. It makes us “slow-living” people, aware of the importance of nature. We live in the here and now. We savour every day and every moment. It is a melting pot of cultures, forged over centuries, with a historical and cultural diversity that has created this character of ours.
This Mare Nostrum is its reflection. An ode to biodiversity, a dance of species that coexist in a constant and delicate balance. The Mediterranean is home to more than 12,000 species of native plants and animals, many of which are endangered or in danger of extinction. The culprit has a name: plastic.
Our sea is reaching record levels of microplastic pollution. The concentration of microplastics reaches 1.25 million fragments per kilometre and already affects more than 130 species. This life that we love so much cannot exist without the sea that feeds it. It is time to become aware and act. It is time to give back to the sea the life it gives us.
Chapter I The Last Lighthouse Keeper
At night, a small light on the horizon flashes with a hypnotic sequence trying to compete with the luminous spectacle of a sunny day in the Mediterranean. It is the Mesa Roldán lighthouse, in Carboneras.
Mario, its keeper, guides the sailors to their destination. A noble job surrounded by water, wind and salt. White invades everything with its light in this lighthouse, this polar star for ships, Mario takes advantage of days of solitude to write stories. Like that of the last lighthouse keeper.
One morning in Madrid, Mario finds an ad in the newspaper. Something catches his attention: an academy that prepares competitive examinations for future lighthouse keepers.
Months later, the sea of asphalt had been replaced by another that changed their lives: the Mediterranean. In the middle of nowhere, with 150 kilometers of sea on the horizon, thousands of lights have been replaced by a single lantern: that of his lighthouse.
For more than 28 years Mario has been working in the Cabo de Gata Nijar Natural Park, where life is lived slowly. It is easier to focus on the things that really matter, on what is essential.
“When I´m gone, the light will keep shining.
Guiding. Invading everything”
Every day is a symphony of colors that gives him each sunrise and sunset while the incessant wind whistles melodies in his ear.
Mario’s charisma is evident when he mentions the lighthouse keeper’s solitude. Solitude is a gift when in addition to being a light keeper you are a writer. When you were born to tell stories like the one told by the library he has created, the 17 books that have borne his own handwriting about a forgotten profession.
Mario is the last lighthouse keeper. The last of a profession condemned by technology. When he retires, there will be no one left in the lighthouse. Everything will be automated. But his memories of more than 100 years will be reflected forever through the stories he writes and the remnants of a life preserved or recorded. He will tell the stories of all lighthouse keepers. We will tell his.
When Mario is gone, the light will continue. Guiding. Invading everything.
Chapter II The Soul Shaper
Notes of flamenco guitar and the aroma of cypress shavings fill the air at Nijar. A sun-kissed town that entrapped David, drawn to it like Icarus. A luthier born in Lyon that found his circumstance in Andalucía by happenstance.
Knots and veins become notes sculped by his chisel. A way to understand life outside of the mould, based on enjoyment and art. A poetic act of rebellion and a smile in treble clef.
Light streams through a back window, where the sun illuminates the room and draws the dances of countless sawdust shavings. Sketches and blueprints of unique guitars populate the walls,and a symphony of different wood scents permeate the atmosphere. Few places are more magical than a luthier’s workshop.
David smiles as he works on his latest commission. Each guitar is as unique as he is. A French luthier based in Nijar, Almeria, who came for vocation and stayed for love... for the sun, for a way of life, for music and for the special magnetism of this land. A magnetism that he projects and which invades the room.
“If you do something with love,
you are doing magic”
His love for his craft is as contagious as his love for life. Enjoying every detail. Thinking about the journey and not the destination. His hands caress the wood, roam over his tools and roam over the flamenco guitar countertop he is working on.
He forces it and taps it gently. He seeks its bending point before it breaks, as if it were an allegory of the life that sweeps us along in its maelstrom. He finds the flat he seeks and smiles, again. It speaks of octogenarian cypresses that instead of accompanying those who leave, take on new life and fill with chords those who remain.
Its magical effect is one of listening to what one wants and being brave and pursuing it. And of love. To wood. To music. To art. To life.
Chapter III Lovers, Rock and Wine
In Fondón, between Sierra Nevada and Gádor, a reddish tone floods everything. The red of a clay soil in ravines dotted with almond blossoms. The red of a wine as irreplicable as the couple that cultivates its vines: Rober and María del Mar.
The red of two hearts that beat as one and fill the bottles and souls of those who visit them. This is a story of love, rock and wine.
In Fondón, amid an immense calmness, we find Rober and María del Mar’s safe haven, their vineyard, their connection to the land and nature. A small enclave that looks like something out of a fairy tale, surrounded by the immense mountains of Sierra Nevada, at an altitude of almost 1,000 meters, in an ancient glacial valley, the sun and the wind struggle unhindered on diaphanous hectares of fields, rock and reddish earth and amid of budding vines.
Ten years ago, when they arrived at this small vineyard, they both felt that connection: it was their place, the place to put down roots.
“You must learn to listen to what your mind
and the surrounding land tells you”
The couple enjoy a perfect communion with the land. They nourish themselves with the sun to feed their house and the water from the irrigation ditch to water their vines and lives. They pamper the earth and it returns their affection with days of love and harvests of wine made as it was centuries ago. A wine with a unique flavour, fruit of that clayey and magical land, made only with grapes. Pure grapes: Pura Vida.
Pura Vida is the path of these two rockers, the way of conveying their feelings, the way their life has been transformed to end up inside a bottle of wine. When they look at each other you realize that there are beings destined to meet and accompany each other. To love and care for each other. The sparkle in her eyes, the fleeting caresses, the stolen kisses while they go about their daily chores.
They met at the right time and the right place and decided to listen to what their minds, their hearts and the earth around them were telling them, and they ended up putting down roots, deeper than those of their own vines. Passion. Strength. Roots. Connection. Love.
Epilogue Sunlit Days
There are days when the Mediterranean sun rises in a special way. It wakes us up, it caresses us and reminds us of the many ways to live.
A land where some are born and others arrive and reinvent themselves. A land in which stories are sung to life and days are bathed in sun.
The connection of this light from sea and nature is forged in the people of the land with a kind, smiling and generous character that, when gently warmed, results in stories that savour the day.
Here are some of these stories. All unique. All real. All people whose roots, native or brought, have found their land here.
They are Fernando, Marina, Mario, Rober, María del Mar and David. These are their stories. Thank you for letting us share them.