Our Portugal is on the edge: bordered on one side by the indescribable lure of lively Spaniards and on the other, the comfort and softness of the Portuguese. The land is green, spilling into hidden valleys. It is dusty, backed by breathtaking rock faces. It is hot; it is cool, but it is always balm to the soul.
I felt it clearly the other night on horseback as we galloped freely, reins loose, the rhythm of the animal beneath me all at once tender yet powerful. Submersed in the beauty of this landscape I was reluctant to be drawn away to anywhere else; the desire to stay put was strong. We rode around mountains, through valleys and across streams, pausing for water in a village alive with guitarra and accordion; I felt as if I had stepped back into a long ago book.
To be invited to ride with our friends in the evening, saddling up on a piece of silent land in Spain, dismounting in the darkened hills of Portugal (the usual way of horse rotation as it is here) was a treat – four hours of bliss – and I just wanted to keep on going. With the horses I feel I have rediscovered something from long ago, perhaps with an even stronger connection than ever before and yet, I came here this time knowing that we would soon be leaving our home; passing it on to others.
The pull of personal circumstances, the ultimate wrongness of our land due to situation and also the desire to maybe, just maybe, one day have horses ourselves… mean it is time to move on and despite a slight heaviness of heart, I feel also an immense excitement in knowing that fear of the unknown will never hold us back and that the richness of what we find as we wander is always a worthy element in the makeup of our life.
We do not know where we will come to rest again, sink our hands back into soil, continue our dreams of self-reliance. We do not know if it will once again be Portugal or if somewhere else will reach out to us, but we know that our hearts will find it when they need to and that it will be the right place and the right time to discover something beautiful.