Spring is arriving, I can feel it! After the rain and cold of yesterday, we woke up today to a radiant day. No clouds in the sky, the mountains look gorgeous and the naked trees are getting greener every day!
We used to work in a farm in Portugal before moving to Croatia. It was truly a beautiful place… we lived in a restored traditional stone house facing a hill covered by old chestnuts. Between the hill and our house, terraces with young fruit trees shaped the landscape and, down in the valley, a creek filled the air with the sound of running water. It was like living in paradise. However, we left after six months of working and living there and so we didn’t have the chance to experience all seasons in that place.
Where we live now, it’s different. When we moved here, Summer had already started. The days were long and very hot. The trees around us were lush green and all living beings – plants, birds, mice, insects – were very busy, growing, flying, singing. And then, very slowly… Autumn arrived, covering the mountains and the whole landscape in orange and red. Somewhere in the transition, trees carried both green and orange leafs, an image so beautiful that is still strongly imprinted in my mind. And then, the sun started to hide behind the mountain. The days were colder and the nights longer. Winter had arrived.
This house is very very old, built during the times of Yugoslavia. Besides some extra insulation done recently on the walls, the windows and doors are still quite old and, when Winter finally came, it wasn’t easy for us to manage temperatures of -10ºC or less when you could feel the breeze entering into the living room through the gap under and around the balcony door. The bedroom is North facing, not capturing any light whatsoever during Winter, so it was freezing cold at night. Luckily, we have a fireplace and, even though it didn’t warm up the house as much as we wished, we would gather around it during evenings and dine and talk while carefully nurturing the embers.
During these last colder months, we wondered many times why we were here. In Croatia. Living on this place. Cold and far away from our family, friends and all our dreams. But every time I looked outside through the windows of the living room…
We came to Croatia due to many different reasons – due to plans and ideas and hopes for the future. However, now it seems that the true reason we came – or had to come – here was actually to learn more about ourselves. To peel out layers of our hearts. To be deeply shaken to our core. To cry and miss people and dream bigger than ever before. To think a lot about many things and to learn not to over think. To strength our couple connection. To let go. To have adventures together we would never believe we could ever have. To scream and run away and come back and feel everything with such intensity it hurts. To connect with Nature to a degree we never thought possible before, to call Mother to the land, to caress the branches of trees and plants and memorize their shape and texture, to observe and write and observe again. To sing with the birds, to pile stones, to garden and be deeply humbled by the landscape. To change profoundly and to learn. To ground. To rediscover our Nature family and hug a tree and a rock and feel a love so strong like it’s your brother and sister. To talk to animals and trees and smile a lot. To feel deeply lonely and to never feel lonely again. To find community. And to find Love.
Winter months used to go by really slowly in the past, according to my perception. Rain, cold, clouds, no sun… it was easy to feel down and wish it would be over soon. However, I realised that when you stop fighting Winter and decide to look at him with different eyes, a whole new world opens to yourself. And that’s what I’ve decided to do in my daily life. Every morning I greet the trees, plants and animals I encounter while taking Maria out to the garden. Even if it is raining, unless it is pouring, I go out anyway and feel the rain and the wind and the cold air on my skin. I spend long moments contemplating the clouds moving smoothly around the mountains’ tops. I watch the sunset and marvel with every little new change of light and colour outside or with the droplets hanging from the tree branches…
After the equinox at the end of the month, Winter is officially gone. And unlike any other time before, I feel sad to see him going. I’ll never see Winter on this place again and every new little green bud or yellow flower is like him saying goodbye. I am happy to greet Spring but, at the same time, I can’t help but feel sorrow as well. Definitely a bitter-sweet moment.
Oh, I wish I could hug you, Winter. You taught me so so much these last months… I’ll miss you so much.
Love you, my dear friend.