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January 28th, 2020: Seasonal Struggles



Like I mentioned before, don’t let social media fool you. If you look at my Instagram and Facebook you might think I am “living the life”! Spain, Morocco, Italy and then back to my bucolic village in the mountains of Portugal! Yes, I am very blessed and so grateful for all the recent opportunities we have been given, but let me assure you, my day-to-day life is NOT that glamourous! First of all, we are still knees deep in renovations that are taking place all around the house. Loud, messy, intrusive renovations. We’ve also been sick on and off since November so I am usually in old dingy housework clothes, leaking from all my facial openings, hawking up all kinds of lovely things and cleaning up after the men coming in and out of the rain! I’m also struggling with some realizations of my new status as a “dependent” housewife, unemployed and unable to “get in my groove” to paint due to the noise and general turmoil in the house presently which affects the studio and my concentration, SO, of course, my worth, purpose and general direction in life have all come under question by my own over-thinking mind! First world problems? Absolutely. Annoying and tiresome? Also yes. The interesting thing about being in a place that has actual seasons is that you vividly perceive just by looking out the window that things are changing. When we first arrived in October, the landscape had shades of burgundy, rusty orange, yellows and warm browns. The fields were still lush and the fiery autumn trees gave the town splashes of warmth all around. Now that we are well into winter, the predominant color palette is shades of grey. The trees are sad and naked, the sky is often dense and even the town’s timeworn buildings with their textured facades, which I found so charming a few weeks ago, look depressing against the backdrop of rain and wind. BUT, the apple trees right out front of the house, which were robust with red leaves when we arrived and then lost all their plumage, reducing them to awkward skeletons, have now begun to BLOOM!! Tiny, delicate white blossoms are now covering those bony arms with the promise of good things to come. I guess I forgot that the cold will eventually pass and that the land will change and that new life will come. It’s just a matter of time. I have been fretting a bit, fighting bouts of general melancholy when I look around indoors and see constant dust and dirt on the walls we just painted, on the rugs I got to make the place homey, on my hand-picked curtains and furniture and then when I go outside, something I usually really enjoy, it’s dreary and cold and unwelcoming. That, coupled with the fact that I am not working yet, my art is on pause and I am more involved with housework (an unappreciated labor) than ever before, contribute to a creeping despair. I feel like Sisyphus, rolling that boulder up the hill (daily clearing up the debris and cement dust from at least our more circulated home spots just to try to retain a sense of normalcy lest I go mad) only to have it roll back on me the next day. (Maybe that’s how housework feels like all over the world!?) However, it is a season and I understand this now. I know it will pass and soon, hopefully sooner than it feels, I will be enjoying our home and back to my outdoor walks in the fields and hills! Seasons come and go, some are more pleasant than others, but I think if things didn’t change at all, we wouldn’t appreciate the appearance of those lovely little flowers as much!

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