Portugal Impressions: Every time I come to Portugal, especially the north, I am always cradled and calmed by the sweet serene stillness and the tranquila tristeza that permeates the rocks, the whoosh of the wind and the wary rhythm of the ocean waves.
There is a gentleness and sweetness in the people here that is not found in Spain. It is English propriety softened by latin warmth and tampered by a sweet silent melancholy.
As I walked along the coast and in between streets and in and out of shops, I felt my entire nervous system take a deep breath and cleansing exhale. This sweet sadness that the portugués are so famous for is found in their folk music of Fado and the gentle attachment to the past. A attachment on display amongst old worn buildings made of unoffending pastel tiles of greens, pinks and blues, nothing too obnoxious or ostentatious-a stark contrast to the many bright and bold palates of Spain with its intricate and gothic facades.
There is almost a shyness to the way the buildings are constructed. Old and worn yet still enchanting and alluring, a timeless spirit etched not only on the buildings and streets, but also on the faces of both old fishermen and young timid men. There is a mystery to Portugal and it´s subtle expression of existence I believe is what gives it´s mystery. Even the coffee goes down smooth, in contrast to the bitter punch in the face and racing heart beat you get with your morning coffee in a Spanish café.
The wind is relentless, strong and cool-but there is a communication with Mother Nature here that touches my heart and calms my soul. I see it in the faces of the residents, the way the paths are built along natural curves rather through them with places to stop off for contemplation or rest. As I sat on one of these rest posts looking out over the sea I pondered how her location between that of the Anglo-Saxon islands of England and Ireland and that of Latin Europe, France, Spain and Itlay, along with the constant and consistent winds of the Atlantic has forced and caressed Portugal to expose and lay bare an ego that would be challenged by constant trade and interaction as well as exposure to the indominable elements of La Mar.
And so I sit here on this coast, nearing what was once believed, to be the end of world, contemplating my return after a five year absence, back home. In opening myself to the possabilities across the ocean and the chill of the Atlantic ocean, I find myself tasting just a bit of what the ancient Hindu tradition described as Kali-Ma. An energy form that is responsible for both destruction and liberation. I breathe deep and relish the scent of rock and salt and marvel and give gratitude to feel my own ego disappearing, dispersing-carried away by the ocean wind and transformed into something new and mysterious amidst Her Waters, the waters of chaos and creation.