19th of October 2017
Last weekend was horrible.
The country was on fire.
The tiny country, my country, my little and in many ways primitive land was on fire.
47 deaths are confirmed today, or that number are the last one I heard the authorities tell on TV yesterday. Today I have not opened the TV. I can’t.
My heart is broken.
When I drove to Coimbra yesterday and saw the devastation around the national highway the feeling was like something ugly was crushing my heart.
The beautiful robust green trees that looked like broccolis, were dead. They were all black. Just on the left side of the road. The right side did not catch the fire. Because one side is safe the devastation is even more visual.
I have driven this road almost every day, these 7 years I have lived in my tiny country. I know every twist and turn. I know every hole, and I know where the hookers are. I have watched the farmers pick their crops, their grapes and the olives. I have seen the happiness and joy when there is a good crop and I have seen the farmers traveling in their tractors and their friends and family sitting or standing on the trailer. I have seen life and joy on this road, but today it was death I saw.
My first year here in my land I went to Viera De Leiria and there is a beautiful beach. On the road to the Leiria there is a huge pine forest. A huge one. Evergreen, and always full of pines. I picked up pines to use in my home to light the fire. Every year I picked up pines there, filled my car with bags who held the fresh wonderful pines. It took abut half an hour to fill up the bags. The pines were everywhere. Then I went to the beach and spent the day there in the sunshine and listened to the sound of the waves and watched the fishermen landing their catch. This was my heaven during the summer.
Now there is no pine forest. The devastation is complete. Nothing left.
Today Portugal is in morning.
Today is rain and we praise the higher power for answering our prayers. The drought had been complete this year. Everything is dry. The rain is not too heavy, if it was there might be land slights all around. In my tiny land there is not much lowland and the houses and the villages are built on the mountain side.
When I drove to Coimbra today I noticed that some of the trees are leaning more to the side than they did last week. They are sad and heartbroken just like me.
In one of the villages 50 houses destroyed. In another one a 90 year old woman was rescued and moved to a shelter. She had been picking up her cabbage but was told she needed to come. She left with her rescuers. When she came back her house was gone. Nothing but burned ruins. She is 90 years old.
Today we share this beautiful white bird of peace.
Today we remember the victims.
We are grateful for the cold and rain. The government says they did not expect fires in October. I have been here 7 summers and 7 Octobers. Every October there has been a fire. Not as terrible as this year, but always some. The excuses are lame.
We are morning the victims. Their lives cut short in a moment of madness.