Pathways

The first time I saw dynamic graphic representations of neural pathways in our brains on a television documentary, I understood immediately why physical pathways – and where they might lead – fascinate.

This afternoon while a friend was waiting to see the doctor in Loulé, I went in search of a shop with the intention of purchasing two fairly contradictory things: weed killer and potting soil.

What I found was quite different.

A reconnection with the old, the dilapidated, yet still proud:

The distinction between the merely old and what constitutes a ruin is somewhat blurred in the centre of Loulé, Portugal.
The distinction between the merely old and what constitutes a ruin is somewhat blurred in the centre of Loulé, Portugal.

Walking often reveals more than being in a car. I have always enjoyed walking as a means to explore two things at once; the immediate physical environment, and whatever is going on inside me.

In this next photo, I do not believe it was entirely my imagination which felt the weight of all the people in the past who walked this road, and lived here. Some still do, although behind closed doors, for the most part, on this greyish day.

Most of these houses are still inhabited.
Most of these houses are still inhabited.

The cobblestones are uneven. The road is not flat, but forms a V, with an off-centre paved groove to allow for water runoff. At the end of the road there is an old woman talking with two men. They correctly take me for a stranger at about two hundred paces. I am blissfully ignored.

The grasses and weeds growing in these old walls is a feature of this time of year. Most of them die back by the end of spring.
The grasses and weeds growing in these old walls is a feature of this time of year. Most of them die back by the end of spring.

I come back to the hospital after walking just one block from this street to the main street of Loulé. My friend and I, as is our wont, decide to go by car to a specific café to have coffee, only to find it closed on this Saturday afternoon. We agree on the next best one, and laugh together, imagining how her sister would think us so crazy to go to such lengths for just one cup of espresso and a small cake. In mock gravity, we agree that matters of such importance require careful consideration and need to be executed with particular precision.

On the way home, we stop at an old convent (Convento de Santo António – Convent of Saint Anthony) in the hopes that an exhibition we both wanted to see is still open. The exhibition is finished, and a musical concert is about to begin. It is a wonderful building, with high rounded arches and a sense of glory somewhat incongruous with the modest crowd now assembling. I have time to explore, and through a glass door bedecked with raindrops, take pictures of the former cloisters.

I always fancied living in an abode with cloisters such as these, yet the desire was never strong enough to get me to a nunnery. Besides, I doubt there is any nunnery which would accept one such as I.

Who could resist an armchair with a good book in such a setting? And a well-behaved puppy or two....
Who could resist an armchair with a good book in such a setting? And a well-behaved puppy or two….

I am so taken with this space, and frustrated that I cannot gain entry.

The strange body of light is caused by my camera flash, but its effect is pleasing nonetheless.
The strange body of light is caused by my camera flash, but its effect is pleasing nonetheless.

In many cities in Portugal, even Lisbon, there are green spaces with roads going seemingly nowhere which simply refuse to be erased.

Picture postcard, 5.00 p.m.
Picture postcard, 5.00 p.m.

Here, at this spot, nothing is set in stone.

Allison

7 thoughts on “Pathways

    1. Likewise. Other bits and pieces of creativity got in the way of blogging – not to mention my laptop motherboard crashing in the middle of a big job, an amazing IT guy who saved me, some insomnia, and a dodgy internet connection which will persist for only a few more days, when I shall return to the 21st century with a router via the satellite TV.
      .

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