“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M. Montgomery
Whereas clouds reflect my moods and emotional state of mind, water defines destiny, railroads are marvelous symbols of destinations. It is not so much the actual act of travelling or the possibility of a new adventure, but more of the sense of mystery as to where I am headed.
Some people live their lives focused on the stations in their lives, living from one milestone to another, refusing to derail from a set path, and have no idea how to cope when the train they are on is suddenly diverted. I spent far too many years of my life chasing stations that were pre-determined for me, roles that I had to play, and standards that I had to live up to. No mas.
When you are as fortunate as I am, to be given a chance to start over from scratch, your life path focuses on the journey and not the stations. Every morning I watch the people on the train as I travel from Vila Franca to Lisbon through the most diverse countryside. It fascinates and saddens me at the same time how many people bury their noses in their phones engrossed in social media or videos instead of admiring and appreciating the passing landscape. OK, maybe mine is an attitude of a newcomer, but also one who has learned to look out for the beauty in the little things. Today, for example, there was a fantastic full rainbow in the sky between Alhandra and Moscavide, and among the 20+ people in my immediate vicinity in the coach, only two of us took cognisance of it. Two! My God, do they realise how rare a full rainbow is and what a blessing it is to travel beneath its light? I guess not.
The same people also missed out on the gorgeous light over the rooftops as we pulled into Sacavem, a light that you only get in-between rain clouds and at a certain hour of the morning. OK, seen through a photographer’s eyes, but this is exactly my point, we waste so much time caught up in the electronic side of life that we miss out on nature’s abundance around us.
Portugal is exploding in colour at the moment, with all the summer flowers blooming along the roadsides and fields. Oleanders, morning glories, poppies, bougainvilleas, wild daisies, jacarandas, and a host of other flowers I do not recognize dazzle me each time I pass them. It is such a joy that it almost sounds unreal and corny beyond a Hallmark card.
When I first arrived in February the city smelled of orange blossoms, but now the chestnut trees are in full bloom, and their scent follows me everywhere, and when mixed with other floral scents, it is a sensory overload that is sensual and exhilarating, but oddly comforting.
So yes, for me life is all about the tracks and paths now, surrendering to the mystery of the destination and choosing the stations on my terms.