*ululating verb (used without object), ululated, ululating.
- to howl, as a dog or a wolf; hoot, as an owl.
- to utter howling sounds, as in shrill, wordless lamentation; wail.
I was standing a hundred meters away from a surprisingly large improvised wooden structure that began on the field, crossed the path and climbed to the top of the hill, and it was totally ablaze. Shirtless anarchists darted around alongside it, tending the fire, and every once in a while loudly ululating*; they seemed to be doing so in celebration, in order to motivate themselves and maybe to some degree in order to freak out the people on the other side.
For beyond the wall of flame there stood a small group of muscular police vehicles, the largest one having a spotlight mounted on it. Silhouettes of heavily-armoured police emerged from behind them. Bernard had stopped me because we had gotten too close, and were in their sights. I was a little startled at the realization of what was going on but the people tending the wall inspired confidence: I felt safe; felt as though someone had my back.
Once upon a time, for a fairly short but very comfortable while, I had been employed as a programmer in a 9 to 5 kind of arrangement**Flexible hours, actually. It was a job where from time to time I would get to solve interesting puzzles, my coworkers were very open and interesting, I earned well and I first learned how it was in society when one belonged to a greater structure. This state of belonging allowed me to move around freely in the city (on foot, by public transport and by car), go to the cinema, go for drinks, buy things I wanted to have (a projector, a laptop, clothes), and so forth, and I even had some time to work on my own projects. At least on a superficial level, this time was easy.
Then times changed. Structures, responsibilites shifted. Things got a bit harder, things got a lot harder, at some point things got too hard, and I cracked. My doctor recommended that I take a holiday so I got in the car and headed down towards Madrid to visit a friend. When this spontaneous departure from the mundane, and the detour it spawned, brought me to this remarkable place that was bursting at the seams with life and new situations it had apparently also brought me to the outermost edge of my bubble. A roaring flaming wall between me and the police was not what I expected the edge of my world to look like but I guess I kind of liked it**people tell me I'm a romantic, and it reinforced the newly found and reassuring feeling that this world was bigger than I thought it was.
"Come on", said Jérôme after a short while. "Let's get out of here." We turned and headed back to Reggae Island.
Just around the time we passed an outlying fireplace we heard a loud whistle behind us and turned to see fireworks go up above our heads. People were clapping and yelling in approval, more fireworks. I was overcome with the feeling of belonging to something again - a very different thing - and it was profoundly comforting.