As the 2021 version of lock-down is hopefully getting closer to a loosening to the restrictions here in Portugal, and maybe trying to anticipate what my upcoming months might be, I’m looking back to the aftermath of the 2020 version of lock-down. Last year things started to open in mid-May, and after a couple of months restricted to an apartment in Lisbon it was time to go to countryside, one of the perks of having my family roots outside the capital.
In any non-urban area seasons aren’t defined by mere dates in a calendar, but much more fluid and much more tied to nature’s cycles. At the small village at Beira Baixa where I spent so much time last year, in the outskirts of Portugal’s Central mountain range, the time I arrived coincided with cherries season, the event that truly marks the beginning of the summer. I ended up spending a lot of that summer there, back and forth but much more that I normally do, despite that I don’t even travel that much in that time of the year. A summer on a slower pace, hovering those rural little routines, the ones that don’t really care about a pandemic, and enjoying things like the lunches outside, the warm nights by the terrace or the Sundays by the river. And the weeks slowly passed by, until it was time to do harvest vineyards, in other words until the end of Summer.