It takes a while to travel to Portugal, as I decided to do last weekend with my friend Caroline. I was to meet her in Badajoz first, so I had plenty of time to think throughout the day.
I woke early to catch buses and was rewarded with seeing the sun rise, illuminating fog that had crept over and peacefully lay like a blanket on the low mountains of Castilla-La Mancha.
The afternoon I spent waiting on a train in Madrid. I walked through the expansive parks while the sky was overcast, covered only by a thin mask of cloud through which the sun dimly shone. It was a bright white perfect circle without detail, like a hole punched out of heaven. I looked directly into it, as if confidently meeting another's gaze.
As the sun fell that evening I watched, from the train, herds of deer running between the rocky hills of Extremadura. Storks preened in their nests high atop old smokestacks and sheep mated, apparently feeling no shame in the numbers painted blue on their backsides. Some interesting animals later got on the train as well, as wild Spaniards flock to Badajoz for Carnaval. All talked loudly and none was disheartened by the fading light.
In fact, evenings in winter are the sun failing and succumbing to the night, with a deep chill taking over in victory. But lately the evenings are the sun melting into a languid dark, in no hurry to leave behind dying embers of day and content that tomorrow will prove to be even more time to share warmth. The earth is ready for this change.
The sun dipped below the horizon causing the landscape in the window to give way to reflections of the inside of the cabin. My own face came into view, looking foreign. I saw blue blinking back at me and noted that it was the first time in a while that I looked directly in my own eyes, that I had confidence to do so. I saw myself clearly as the dark increased.
I'm ready for change.
10 months ago