In September when we moved to Portugal, we were awash in romanticism at the prospect of living in a two hundred-year-old stone cottage on a farm. Church bells tolled the hour, sunlight glinted on the pristine swimming pool, and a hundred goats cavorted daily in the green and golden pasture. Not long after our arrival I wrote a short piece for the online version of More Magazine. If you missed it, here’s the link: http:/www.more.com/member-voices/your-stories/road-again.
As I said, we were awash in romanticism.
Now we are just awash.
It began to rain in mid-October and stopped somewhere in the vicinity of Thanksgiving. Since our stone cottage is built into a hillside, some of the rooms have large slabs of stone that the builder needed to work around, so when the earth is supersaturated, water floods inside.
We decided to go to the Spanish Pyrenees to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary in early December by skiing at Formigal. Unfortunately, the internationally famous ski resort had not benefited from the same amount of moisture we’d had in Northern Portugal, so the lifts couldn’t open. We spent the time exploring eleventh century churches along the Camino de Santiago, bathed in Spanish sunshine.
When we returned it was raining. In the living room. I left for an early Christmas visit to my daughters, son-in-law, and granddaughter in L.A., and my brother and sister-in-law in Rio Rancho, under brilliantly blue New Mexico skies.
It was lovely when I returned to Portugal late on December 25th. The air was crisp and clear, and holiday lights and fireworks lit up the night. For a brief spell we enjoyed the weather, and then we left for La Costa del Sol. This is not a misnomer. Every day, in every city–Sevilla, Marbella, Málaga, Granada, Córdova–there was sunshine.
We spent the final night of our trip in the border town of Elvas, Portugal. As we drove toward home the next morning, the sky began to dim from cobalt blue to robin’s egg, from pewter gray to battleship. Back at home, the rain was torrential and the wind so great that roof tiles are now missing from the cottage.
But yesterday I held newborn goats, still wet from delivery, umbilical cord attached. How sweet it is…