I have Don Quixote on my mind these days–that great Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra character, that jouster at windmills and dreamer of impossible dreams. Opportunity to soak in the wonder of Spain on a trip in the autumn of 2012 deepened appreciation of Quixote. What I found in Spain is that the land of Quixote has all the magic of old world charm about it but it’s more than charm, because it IS the Old World. There is magnificence and grandeur in Spain worthy of the Man of Dreams.
I went to Spain with the show tune, The Impossible Dream, in my heart. It’s the signature Quixote song in the musical drama, The Man of La Mancha. I’ve loved the heroic lyrics of that song for years and it’s one of three tunes I selected as practice songs two years ago when I added singing to my life after Charlotte’s death. It’s now a favorite at karaoke night.
I went to Spain with Scotties in my heart, too, because I’ve recognized a Don Quixote spirit in my Scottish Terriers from the beginning of my days with these dogs. The more I get inside the soul of my Scotties, and the more I know and appreciate the dreamer, Quixote, the more similarities I see between them and the more I admire them both.
I see the movie character, Quixote, played by Richard Harris, in my aging Albie, now almost deaf at age 13. Quixote saw Ogres and Monsters in the windmills he encountered in the Spanish countryside. I watched my Albie through the screen door this morning, sitting alone on the porch, staring into the distance toward the wall that surrounds my house compound, periodically barking, without apparent rhyme or reason or rhythm– but voicing very real ‘objection’ to life’s gremlins and monsters.
Does it ultimately matter what Quixote saw in that whirling windmill that spurred him and his horse to defend the noble and right in the world?
What does a little old deaf Scottie discern of life and the things that go bump in the night that moves her to defensive alarm where I see nothing?
Dreams are part of Life’s “givens.” We don’t choose dreams so much as dreams choose us. So, too, of monsters. So it was for Quixote … and so it is, perhaps, for my Albie.
The test is: are perceived ‘monsters’ faced and engaged, or do we run away? Do we fight for the right, such as we see it, without question or pause? Do we march into hell for a heavenly cause?
Quixote did. In their own way, I believe our little ‘diehard’ Scotties do too.
I hope in the greater scheme of things Angels watching over human affairs say of those touched with Scottie-printed hearts that we are great-souled, Quixotic characters, too.
Joseph Harvill, publisher Great Scots Magazine