My childhood memories take me back to summer vacations in the countryside. Time away with my four brothers, my parents and grand-parents, away from the city and its ‘seriousness’ of school, work and daily routines have left an indelible mark in my veins. Travel has been a constant in my life. However, now more than ever I feel the call of the land.
Summer in the countryside meant time to just roam around carefree and explore nature – an area of central Portugal sparsely populated where the earth is red, the sun intensely hot in the summer, and where we the cooling and aromatic vapours of eucalyptus trees and other oily bushes are everywhere. Nature felt wild and ancient with the cicadas’ daily concerts ; at night the heavens were brightly lit like a Christmas tree and the permeating silence was accentuated by the distant sound of a dog or a donkey.
Time rolled out slowly. The adults left us to our own devices. With no responsibilities except to be at table for meals, we could play all day and be whatever we wanted to be. For me, that wild land with its strong and grandiose presence was my playmate, coaxing, suggesting, offering. I remember pretending I was an explorer always eager to see what was new and interesting out there. And in the quiet hours after lunch, when the heat invited the shade, the silence, or a siesta, I read through all the books by Enid Blyton – which, by the way, I’d insistently and regularly ask my mom to buy at the small general store and only gas station in town.
Everything seemed in slow motion. Now I know why – it was simply the return to the rhythms of nature.
Today, the call of the land has become louder and louder. Like a painful longing, my biology has been asking me to dig my hands and my feet into the earth so that I can plug directly my whole body, mind and spirit to the source and rhythms of life.
I’ve answered the call, opened the door to mother nature and stepped in. It feels like I’m meeting an old and wise friend, reassuring me, embracing me in her loving arms.
This feels like oxygen to the brain
like peace to the heart
like light to the soul.
It feels like the magic kingdom.