There are four women staying at this house. I am 20 years older than the oldest. Their life experiences reach far beyond mine. When I first arrived there was a woman from Seattle, a Washington State Patrol Officer. Merka had most recently lived in Bend. Gwen called Portland her hometown. Gwen’s uncle once taught art at Hermiston High and her parents live in Goldendale. To break up the monotony of Pacific Northwest Americans there was Alise from Latvia.
Each of these women has had many different careers whereas I had the same employer for 31 years. They have journied much further in seeking peace iñ their lives…and in fact still search that route daily. I came to grips with that life journey long ago. I listened and shared as I can and lifted them up in prayer and thanksgiving.
Alise had several pages of “questions” for discussion after dinner. Those around the table went from nearly strangers to close friends as the questions and answers opened up the stories of our lives.
The State Patrol Officer left in the morning. Alise, Gwen and I decided to walk to the Costa da Morte to see the lighthouse. It was a delightful time I will treasure. We walked through the eucalyptus forest and I learned these trees were not it native to Spain.
The Rio Grande is a lovely river.
When we reached the estuary the white sand beach was covered with millions of tiny scallop shells.
We took the long way which took us off the highway. We were tired and stopped to eat at a family owned bar. After a big meal and 12 km I was ready to call a taxi. So we went on four wheels the rest of the way. The lighthouse and coast line were well worth the effort.
Today we walked a country path to a neighbouring village for groceries. Then we said our goodbyes to our Latvian. She insisted on buying us coffee before she parted with us. It’s funny how in just a few short days you feel so close, like someone you had gone to school with from first grade on. She is so alive and so beautiful and fighting so many demons. She loves lighthouses and the ocean and mapped her course to Lisbon so she could see more. My last words to her were “love yourself”. It will be quieter around the dinner table tonight but we will all carry memories of these past few days in our hearts.
Carol, Gwen and Merka
Alise, Gwen and Carol hiking to the lighthouse