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New Year at the Quinta


After a few days of silence and deep meditation over the winter solstice and Christmas period we emerged into the quickening stream of the coming new year for the arrival of two spiritual brothers, Ian and Rich. It was great to welcome them here into our life and share our creativity, vision and passion for the Awakened Living Project with them. Although adapting to our rather tough off-grid living situation was a challenge especially in the cold and rainy weather, their pioneering spirit always shone through. After a day or two it was hard to imagine that they hadn’t always been here as they were soon enjoying the nightly wood burner lighting ritual, carrying spring water up the slope, and making (and eating) salad by candlelight!

The same self-organizing flow unfurled when we went to the Quinta to work. Boy was I glad to have Rich and Ian’s help to get the 25 fruit trees I had bought planted. However, on the first day the tank of water that the local mayor had assured me would arrive to help us plant never showed up. Not being able to plant without ample water and without any fixed plan of action for the day, it was quite beautiful what occurred. After digging a few holes ready for the trees when water did turn up, we found ourselves following our own bubbling inspiration in different directions as the awakening Quinta’s whispered wishes seeped into our consciousness.

Ian cleared the stone steps going down the terraces…


Rich cleared a pathway into the Quinta for easier access…


Cynthia strimmed through a forest of brambles liberating two walnut trees in the process and I began preparing veggie beds with cardboard mulch.


By lunchtime the landscape had already changed significantly and we all simmered with wild exuberance as we wolfed down gobs of sunflower seed pate on carrot sticks and crackers.


Next day after a heavy rainfall on arrival at the Quinta we were greeted by the sound of water rushing through the stream below. It had been dry since July and now here it was casting its dancing music up the valley. Now we had all the water we needed nearby and so we grabbed buckets and began a day of joyous tree planting!


Enthusiastically wielding shovels, hoes and full buckets of water we soon had two terraces graced with slender young almond, fig, plum, apple, pear, persimmon, peach, pomegranate, nectarine, walnut, hazelnut and apricot trees. It’s hard to convey the satisfaction of planting a tree. As I lovingly tamped down the earth around the trees with my boot I felt the beginnings of a long and deliciously ‘fruitful’ relationship with each, as I imagined harvesting their god given sun soaked abundance under leafy branches.


Once the trees were in we turned our energy to the awe-inspiring task of clearing the ‘levada’ or irrigation channel. It must be over half a kilometer long from where it meets the cascading stream higher up the valley to its destination on the Quinta. Another miracle of Portuguese engineering along with the slate walls and steps, the levada served to bring water to the Quinta for irrigation and domestic purposes. I don’t know how long it was since water had flowed along it but boy when Rich, Ian and I arrived it was clearly crying out for release. After two days we had cleared the channel almost all the way to the Quinta and got the water flowing to boot! Seeing that pure life giving mountain water cascading along that channel seeking out the Quinta was pure magic.


It was a delight to feel all of us loving and giving to the rebirth of the Quinta. I felt the earth and trees rejoicing at the presence of our voices now of a different tongue. I felt, as I always do, humbled by the immense care and sheer hard labour that generations of Portuguese poured into this place. I felt the echo of the past and the call of the future ringing in the vast eternity of Now. I felt the quiet ecstasy of homecoming and the thrill of creation coursing through my veins. What will 2008 bring I wondered as I gazed out over the valley??


A field of limitless possibilities stretches ahead…May all you come here drink deeply from the wellhead of pure incandescent Life lived in all its brimming vitality and fullness. So be it!


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