Yesterday was absolutely brilliant blue sky, but today we awoke to overcast and gray clouds. George, ever the optimist, insisted when we went out that it wouldn’t rain, so we didn’t go back for an umbrella. Of course, we then had to stop in a sweet little shop to buy one, as it started to come down in big gloppy drops. We had planned to go to Estoril this afternoon–an AA meeting there at 7 p.m.–but I really didn’t want to slog around in a lovely beach town in soggy weather. Thankfully, we have enough time in Portugal that we can postpone a visit to the coastal communities until it’s a nice day–and hope that we do get some sunshine again. Perhaps this is why this cat is always sleeping in the chair next to the heater.
This weather might also explain the Portuguese character: much more somber and dignified than I expected, melancholic, friendly but not exuberant–just as scholars try to describe the nature of fado, the Portuguese national music, filled with saudade, a longing for place. Being such a literary people, with so many revered poets, surely they have produced some interesting poems with rain as a metaphor for something, I thought. But searching for Portuguese poems under that subject, the ones I found were for the most part so depressing that I didn’t feel like sharing them. About the best I could find was this one about cloudy skies by Carlos Oliveira:
without a sound
in the happy realm of its high clouds,
shimmerings and shudderings,
the tenuous vibrations
of the world,
saw the poem put together on the heights
in rhythms, patterns, structures
of a syntax bringing forth bright
airy things – like wind and light.
no âmbito feliz das suas nuvens,
citilações e frémitos,
as ténues vibrações
o poema organizado nas alturas
em ritmos, desenhos, estruturas
duma sintaxe que produz
coisas aéreas como o vento e a luz.)
Not a dark, pounding downpour
Just a Lisbon light rain
Drips from terracotta eaves —
Lets just stay in and make love
Not bad for an afternoon attempt, eh? And on that note, I’ll finish with a photo of brilliant sun on the Tagus River, just yesterday. More characteristic of Lisbon?