Blogging the stories of our family life on a yoga retreat in the magical village and valleys of Amieira, Central Portugal. Everyday we are tending this beautiful land and its stone dwellings in our journey towards self sufficiency. Moses is the Portuguese name of this place, meaning many mill stones. And, providently, is also the name of our beloved golden retriever, without whom, we'd never have found it. We love you Moses.
It sometimes feels that way. That the mystical and often abandoned valleys of this beautiful Portuguese countryside, have in days gone by been the scenic backdrop to many a valiant tale of elves, dwarves, princesses, gallant princes, ogres, trolls, wicked stepmothers and magical helpers. And now they are the backdrop to ours.
We watch the unfolding bloody stories of humans on planet earth in lands far distant from these peaceful hills. The riots in London and the UK, the invasion of the middle east by our resource hungry governments, the unabated ravaging of our old precious cultures as in Tibet, by ruthless neighbours. The list goes on. We watch. Recognising that our own small story is taking part within a much much wider context.
The unprecedented rate of change humanity is now experiencing, has meant that more of us are becoming increasingly uncertain as to what the near future holds. Not fearful, just uncertain. This year we have had the honour to host some wonderful Wwoofers from quite a few far away lands. China, New Zealand, America, Australia, Morocco, Hungary, Holland, France, Spain and England.
Wwoofers bring their own stories. And in them we find the similarities of shared sentiment. Desires for living more simply, more in harmony with nature, with the seasons, with the fruit of the land and their labours. Hopes that we can be less dependent on the relentless stripping of the earth's resources that is our current global economic model of civilisation.
It makes no sense really to have hope in times of such immense change and unpredictability. But there it is nonetheless. That's what makes it feel so akin to a fairy tale. When the rich and powerful corrupt kings get wealthier and more influential everywhere, the day dawns for a new era of humble heroes to defeat them.
Maybe in the tales of history recorded for this time, it will be written that an army of unknown nobodies from nowhere fought the system simply by ignoring it and lived as much as possible outside of it, until the wicked kings lost their power. Oh I know this is just the talk of a foolish idealist, the ramblings of an Englishman living in the mountains of Portugal with way too much time to muse, and the reality for those living right in the midst of troubles is altogether very different.
Yet there is a surprising profundity in having the freedom to grow and eat your own potatoes, tomatoes and pumpkins and grapes. The freedom to wander through a valley such as this watering newly planted orchards, kitchen gardens and woodlands, whistling with birds and crickets as we go. It's not difficult to see why Disney and Pixar so often present peaceful paradise as they do. Peace is a great environment in which to grow, even if not to grow up.
Here's hoping your fairy tale is full of adventure and magic and ends happily ever after.