51 kilometers from Soria capital, and less than two kilometers from the beautiful town of San Leonardo de Yagüe, forming part of the impressive place known as the Cañon del Rio Lobos, a village, Arganza, rests in solitude while the roofs of their houses are falling apart little by little, mortally wounded by the time and neglect of those who once were its inhabitants: nine, if we are to trust the 2004 Census.
The visitor who arrives for the first time to Arganza, has the curious feeling that at any moment a child can run out of a house and cross the road carelessly, which, in excellent condition - at least in that stretch - is directed, alternating straight and curved like a formidable tar serpent, towards the nearby town of Santa María de las Hoyas, and beyond, in the direction of Peñaranda de Duero.
But although it never hurts to take extreme precautions, you will hardly be able to see any human being, except for those who continue to travel on the road, without stopping even to take a look impelled by curiosity.
However, the other who does, not caring to spend a few minutes walking through its deserted streets, will soon realize that the silence is not, but, circumstantial and it will be enough to direct his gaze to the sky, to convince himself immediately. who, in reality, is not alone.
Indeed, without needing to be placed in a special point of observation, you will enjoy, without a doubt, the unforgettable spectacle of watching impressive flocks of an authentic symbol of the region - the griffon vulture - evolving freely in the sky, similar to comets whose threads managed the invisible hands of children, whose evolution circumstances have wanted to end up becoming men anywhere else.
If you are an observer, you will realize, also, that for some curious reason, or perhaps because the phenomenon responds only to chance, they evolve planning in a circle above the Romanesque church, whose dedication is consecrated to Saint John the Baptist Degollado , as well as by the small cemetery located at the highest point, from where you can contemplate a view that covers the entire town.
Perhaps, pushed by chance, while heading towards it, the nostalgia reminds him of that old and endearing series of Spanish Television, known as 'Chronicles of a people', and making use of the power of his imagination, creates to see the postman , bag on his shoulder, painfully climbing the slope a few meters ahead of him, with one hand nervously twitching his mustache and with the other waving a letter in the direction of the priest who, broom in hand, inclines his head commending himself to God, while clearing the entrance of the church from dust and leaves.
You may imagine, too, the teacher giving a practical class around the town, counting, dismissive, sighing with relief to see that no child has been lost; or that the comments of the comadres are recreated, while listening to how the remnants of the soap with which they rub the clothes are rushing rapidly downstream, until they are finally lost sight of.
Going through the outer nave of the church, you will not be surprised to see the curious carved figures on the stone of the capitals, wondering, intrigued, what message the medieval artist wanted to point out when representing images and symbols of curious idiosyncrasies. Think of a clear influence of Eastern origin, to see two fierce lions devouring a prey and will not stop wondering about the meaning of a curious symbol-the pineapple-perfectly carved above them.
Without knowing the reason that the capitals are partially stoned, you will find, shortly after, several figures of terrifying appearance and genuinely mythological characteristics that, possibly based on ancient Hellenic myths, will remind you of the fantastic stories of gods, monsters and heroes that a long time ago, and little less than in passing, constituted a subject of study in their school education.
He will even think to distinguish, yes, again drawing on the marvelous power of his imagination, a curious figure that will remind him of the miracle of the decapitated rooster or, failing that, suggest a symbolism of a decidedly Gnostic character in a Christian church.
Stopping in front of the portico of entrance, he will not fail to observe, at all, the few marks of stonework that, as a sign of identification, will induce him to wonder about his true purpose.
Letting himself be caressed by the rays of the sun, as well as by the fresh air of the mountain range, which occasionally forces him to climb the zipper of his anorak a little more, he will ascend the hill in the direction of the nearby cemetery and from the the door will observe, intrigued, that the relatives rest in peace, although not in a definitive oblivion.
They will suggest that impression, the bouquets of flowers that, although artificial but in excellent condition even of color, offer testimony of a nearby visit and will suppose, in good faith, that, after all, the phenomenon of migration has not taken too far to relatives who surely today reside in what in times constituted, they say, a neighborhood of Arganza: San Leonardo de Yagüe.
Back again in the direction where you have left your vehicle parked, you will stop thoughtfully when you notice a detail that has been overlooked, and imagine that that little table and those white stone benches located next to the entrance of a house offer, immobile and silent, testimony of past family reunions; of shared meals, and prosperously, why not ?, of pleasant conversations, nocturnal and summery, to the magical light of the stars.
In short, a visit to the deserted Arganza will not leave, in any way disappointed, the visitor who one day, pushed by fate, drop by there.
NOTICE: originally posted on my blog SORIA WAY WALK WALKING. Both the text and the photographs are my exclusive intellectual property. The original entry, where you can check the authorship of juancar347, can be found at the following address: https://juancar347.blogspot.com/2007/11/arganza-crnica-de-un-pueblo-abandonado.html
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