This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
It is time to harvest. Little Blond is busy collecting all the fruits and nuts from the land she is living on, but it seems she is not the only one…
Although temperatures rise still pretty high for the month of October, especially for a Dutch girl, fall is starting to look around the corner. After building a new nest in ‘my’ Quinta, I have a full time job in harvesting. Chestnuts, olives and madrones (they make excellent liquor from this rather granular fruit,but I prefer making it into jam) are to be picked. And some forgotten grapes are calling from the vineyard to be taken care of. It takes me hours and hours to pick and sort them, and prepare them to be eaten or to preserve for later. In the beginning I enjoy the labour, since it gives me real fulfilment, and also a convenient distraction from my deeper feelings.
After all those months of working up to the point of moving to Portugal, I feel joy but also a sort of anti-climax, a sense of delusion.
It is quite strange actually being here, 2000 miles from my last home, in a foreign country with all its habits, not speaking the language very well, and still giving me this great homey feeling. During a break in cutting the olives (4 times each olive!) I take a stroll into the hilly landscape, between the beautiful pine and oak trees. With the sun burning on my back, I spot two griffon vultures circling over my head, way up in that enormous blue sky. And smelling the dirt that gushes in the air with every step I make, I realize, yes I love it here… I can hardly believe that I live here now.
In a sense I am waiting for someone to tell me, “it is over”, like a holiday that ends. And in fact, it holds me from enjoying it all the way.
As the days go by my emotions go back and forth. I start to hate the chores. The pain in my fingers and the tearing of my nails from peeling kilos of chestnuts makes me cranky. I even feel stress starting to rise, because there is so much to do in such a small timeframe… Why am I doing this? I push myself to go on, never mind the time, just taking it moment by moment and with a slower tempo. I can feel sorry for myself, but this situation is totally self-inflicted. Being alone, on my own, with all this land to work on, quite isolated from the world. I could ask for help… But no, I know, I feel, this is what I want, what I need. And the further I work through my resentment, keeping a steady pace, I start to relax more. Sometimes I even feel the meditative state of all of this.
I feel lucky, but not always happy. And it is alright.
Inside the Quinta I have different challenges. How much do I invest in making this place my own? Effort and money wise, since I want to keep a low budget. And I don’t know for how long I will be staying… But it does need some attention, so I start to decorate, repair and renovate, my ‘MacGyver’ skills flourish again. I like making things from what others will call ‘nothing of importance’. Things I find outside on the road or in the old shed. Finalizing it with some indoor plants I find the right atmosphere. Lastly, I discover that the pain in my back is not from working or finding new balance in my root chakra, but due to a bad mattress! So with help from friends for transporting, I buy myself a new bed. With the funny measurements of 195/135 cm.
That first night in my new bed I wake up in the middle of the night. At first I think it is because of the ‘demons’ in my mind, who visit me from time to time in my dreams. But then I hear a scream outside, underneath my window. Since the moon is waxing, my eyes need to adjust to the poor light as I see out of the window. There I discover two cat like creatures, but with much thicker tails. Probably fighting over their ‘harvest’. And as much as I like wildlife, I also like my sleep. So with loud voice I tell them to go away, not expecting one of them climbing two meters up against the wall towards my face hanging out the small window! Just in time I get away from the unexpected danger… really? What danger? With a pounding heart I laugh about myself, realizing that this wild, but also very small, animal is nothing different then the demons.
My mind takes me into the wild!
When you thínk you are under attack, you will feel threatened and scared. But is there ever a real threat? Like a life threat??
So breath… and go back to bed (and get a dog to defend you 😉 ) !
Biggg kiss from Little Blond