I walk in the mountains and it feels as if I were in a beautiful garden modelled over time …
In intimate union of Earth and man,
a harmony that reigned for centuries in which the earth provided everything
I cross the valley, a white carpet created by almond trees in blossom, and I enter the mountains, following a winding path. Heather, rockroses and mastics flowering at the sides. Bushes of rosemary, thyme and fennel mix with them, perfuming the air, mixing with the deep, penetrating smell of the sea. Aromatic plants which the locals have always found a use for, sometimes as seasoning, other times as medicine, or even to make the island’s liqueur: Hierbas Ibicencas.
Vast pinewoods cover the mountains, making them dark green. Pine trees that give these islands the name Pityuses, and whose wood was burned for centuries to produce charcoal, which was often exported. In the shade of the pine trees, the brushwood with the juniper trees, the first trees that grew on the island thousands of years ago, many of whose ancient trunks are used to decorate and support the roofs of churches and country homes. A type of wood so much in demand that the tree had to be protected, as demand had turned it into an endangered species.
I keep walking on the path that now passes by fig trees, with their bare, dry branches, but which in just a few months will offer their sweet fruits. Further away stand old olive trees of crooked trunks, grafted upon wild olive trees that appear to be part of a fairy-tale landscape. Some agaves, whose leaves yielded the fibre for the manufacture of espardenyes, Ibiza’s espadrilles, stand alone by a dry-stone wall.
My steps then take me through remnants of this rural past: terraces of abandoned crops, disused cisterns, a well which once witnessed age-old folk dances, lime and tar kilns … Footprints of an Ibiza that refuses to die.
From the cliff at the end of the road, I behold the sea and the mountains. A little further away, man has left his worst and most recent footprint, that of uncontrolled concrete.