Travel Journals

Winding Roads

To say few words and look at you
As one opens one’s eyes after a nap
Your hands tasting like strawberries
Hugging you as one who from within
Flees from the closeness of hope
Touching you because you are within yourself another taste
And at your door there are invitations and wariness
Dazzle that I don’t want to refuse.
-José Alvaro Afonso

After a couple of months of time moving as slowly as grazing cows in a green field by the sea, things now have shifted and the pace is quickening! And suddenly I have only 3 weeks left here on beautiful Flores island...

I’ve planted a garden and it’s growing! (Carrots, cabbage, onions, peas, and soon passion fruit!) The cows in the yard have been mooooved after they finished up the grass and decided to munch down my flower boxes to a nub and stomp through Maria’s rose bushes and Fernando’s construction project. (They finally figured out there was no electricity in the electric fence.) It was a bit startling one night to hear breathing right outside the window and to see four hulking shapes on the sidewalk just a few feet away!

After some scurrying, I now have airplane tickets that will take me through the end of July, with the next stop being Iceland! It will be such a treat to meet up with Mom in London and then head to Reykjavik on Mother’s Day. Very special for both of us...

I’ve rented a car for my final month here, and the sensation of freedom is tremendous! It’s a little green Ford Fiesta that I call Roo, and I love just driving through the green hills and lagoons and the coastlines without any particular destination. It’s not a big place here, so pretty much all of the roads come together again eventually, but having a radio (!) and the ability to explore more independently is such a blessing. Saturday I took a winding road that was so beautiful with the green vistas, and seascape, and tiny white villages with red tiled roofs sprinkled through the hills that I had to stop about every 10 feet to take another picture. And I never passed another car on the road (which was wonderful in the isolation and troubling when my car started overheating! : )

After a gloriously sunny weekend, today is raining and blowing a gale outside. It’s truly spring... I stayed up most all of one night near the last full moon taking photos with my tripod on the roof. Leaving the shutter open brought all sorts of fantastic effects of moving clouds and moonlight on the water...Who needs to sleep when the world is silent and dark, with only the flash of a lighthouse in the distance, and the occasional nocturnal rooster?

The book and cd project with Gabriela is moving forward (my photos illustrating her bi-lingual poetry collection,) and the town hall is paying for me to come back to Flores in July to unveil the project for the Festival of the Emigrant. I hope everything comes together smoothly and that Gabriela wasn’t serious when she said that I’ll have to make a speech in Portuguese! Yikes! I’m much better being the one behind the camera capturing vistas and details than I am on a stage with 5,000 Portuguese folks and a news camera. But I’ll cross that bridge when I have to.

All best wishes from the stormy, windy, and winding roads of Flores...