Years ago, firmly settled into my evening routine among the stones in Sierra Leone, I painted the words providence in the wilderness on my bedroom wall. Not much an artist, I used words and phrases plucked from anywhere to decorate and inspire me. A mix of something in Malcolm X’s autobiography and Robinson Crusoe, I thought I was being philosophical.
I thought it represented my past-self’s idealized trajectory; starting with being a young, confused, but lively person in the world and maturing into someone confident, more focused, spiritually satiated, sure of things. I naïvely thought age and interestingly curated living arrangements would help me with finding that providence. The years pass and I count more grey hairs in my beard, but I feel no closer to that mythical providence in the wilderness than all those years ago.
Which isn’t to say things are bad. Things are great for me, actually. But maybe it is this dual thinking that grinds on me occasionally; that I take on too many externalities, like the state of U.S. domestic politics or global opinion on the existence of a dying biosphere, that are very much out in the wilderness for me.
So, enough with resolutions or promises. I know myself. I need better habits and routines. But since I have rarely had those, I feel more comfortable bringing a few intentions to the coming ten years.
Read more for pleasure, less for knowledge
Don’t be afraid to show yourself
Be mindful of spreading your general positivity too thin
My folks are in town from California. After a few days in Porto and Aveiro, Portugal (also a first for me), we made it back home to Allariz yesterday. The weather has been typically rainy, but there are some dry spells where we enjoy the beautiful views. This one is close to the old castro, overlooking part of the town.
Tomorrow, I’m taking them on the train from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, to see the Cathedral, where most of the pilgrims from all around Europe end their camino.
We welcomed our first guests to the village and our new place. Our friends (and my colleagues) had been on the road for ten days, through the rain and wind of the northern Spanish coast, arriving toward the evening. This nomadic life is strange and beautiful. We met each other in Nicaragua, traveled together through the Colombian and Peruvian Amazon, and hustled was together for a spring and summer in Germany. Now they are here, on a stopover to experience a little part of Galicia. They’re working to find land in Portugal to continue their Hoja Viva project (Power Provida’s Iberian cousin).
The mornings are becoming colder and wetter. I took this photo yesterday, when the early morning fog was thick and the monte was silent, except for the light drizzle.
My teaching schedule is practically full. I thought it would take more time for that to happen. Everything I read about the company suggested that they had hired more teachers than necessary, leaving some without enough bookings. But I usually wake up to an almost-full day. I’m lucky I live in Europe; the time difference is very beneficial. If I still lived in California, peak hours would start at 3 am. Here, I’m able to work from 9 am to 2 pm. Even luckier, I can go for another walk with my dog on this beautiful hill after lunch