Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nature doesn't hurry...

The sun is shining. The sap in the trees is rising. The mimosas are in full, gloriously-scented, yellow bloom. And the tiny daffodils are peeping out on the forest floor. Signs that Spring is emerging. Graças a Deus that we've had a winter of rain to fill up the water tables after last winter's 5 month drought. The appearance of Spring holds an even more poignant message for us this year.

The forest fires at the end of last summer charred a sizeable chunk of the surrounding landscape. Paradoxically, fire destroys and rejuvenates simultaneously. The contrast between the wee forest flowers breaking through the rich black pot ash is remarkable. I was heartened by Tameera at Light Stays Retreats for her Lau Tzu quote this week on FB. Good to be reminded....

"Nature doesn't hurry, 
yet everything is accomplished.
Lau Tzu.

Big thanks to our wonderful volunteer Christian Steiger, who has been working tirelessly over the last month, helping us prepare the houses and the land for our yoga retreat season opening in a few weeks. Clearing up some of the fallen trees and debris of the winter storms, weeding the kitchen gardens ready for planting out this year's herbs and salads, rearranging and tidying spaces, deep Spring cleaning and to top it off playing around in the kitchen with me inventing new dishes for the retreats. Exploring the taste-scape of our pallets.  It's been a lot of fun and inspiring to have another chef to cook with.

Eloise turned 14 in January and Joshua 16 last week. They grow fast. And we observe them change once more, this time into adults, young, energetic and magnificent. Flapping their perfectly formed wings on the edge of the proverbial nest, eyeing that tantalizing horizon of destiny, wherever it may lie for them. The world is their oyster. 2 languages mastered and more coming, they'll be able to navigate their way through. They're not ready to leave just yet, but they're beginning to imagine what that might look like. Imagination and Vision. Such precious and powerful human attributes.

Now the winter rains seem to have passed, we'll be starting the improvements to the yoga platform next week in the sunshine. Strengthening the wooden pillars beneath the veranda with a metal structure that will double as a frame for the wisteria,  roses and jasmines to grow up through. We'll also be enclosing it from the fresh morning valley autumn breezes and the fierce summer sun. We'll keep you updated with a couple of vids to show work in progress. It'll be sad in someways to loose the openness of the practice space, but with more guests and children coming this year, that experience of floating above the forest is not as important as taking care that our guests are safe and don't fall to injury.

And while all that is happening we also have 4 families from the UK with us to explore the possibility of making the jump out to this part of the world. Nice to be able to provide a comfortable base from which they can travel off every day to hunt for similar abandoned hamlets in this beautiful, mountainous and relatively "undiscovered" central part of Portugal.

After these lovely families and their oh so very cute kids leave, my Mum and Dad are popping over for a fortnight from the UK before Easter and then we start our first retreat of the year. Which, Merci Papa, is already fully booked. Places on our retreats are booking so fast this year we can hardly believe it. We've had over 5000 likes for our Facebook page in 12 months. Staggering. Guests are coming in from all over the world - America, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Italy, India, the UK, Thailand and Norway. And that's just for the first 2 retreats of the year. Amazing.

We are really touched by how people have responded to our invitation to come spend a week with us in the forest. And by how many people are helping us in this little quest - Ellie and Rosy at Responsible Travel, Will at Yoga Travel, Filipe at Seegno, among many others. Thanks. We really do appreciate all you're doing for us.

Peace, love and Spring hope to you, whatever the weather outside your window today.

Memphis x

p.s. Respect is due to Josh for these photos on the blog, he took them for me this morning. Lad, you sure got an eye.