I’ll admit it: I’m running away.
This would-be holiday has instead been more like an endurance-test often verging on the kind of nightmare that won’t stop but also won’t let you wake up. What it certainly hasn’t been is either of the two things I’ve really needed, namely a sense of relaxation, and time to get deeper into writing. So I’m cutting my losses both literally and metaphorically, and heading back tomorrow morning, with an all-night drive to the airport at Porto after a seminar I’ve been asked to give in Sintra this evening. (The Portuguese like their events late: the damn thing doesn’t even start till 9:30pm…)
Coimbra was definitely the highlight, yet even that hammered home again the all-too-frequent emptiness and loneliness of this life of mine. The Portuguese word soldade is right at the core of fado: in a very loose sense it’s similar to the Welsh word hiraedd, but also perhaps even more about the sense of belonging, or more accurately of enforced disconnection from the literal and metaphoric ‘place of belonging’. Seems that sense of connection is something that I’ve never had – not even in the shallow popular tribal form of ‘supporting’ some football club :wrygrin: The dull nothingness of soldade – not even the definiteness of a hurt or pain, just a constant background gnawing, the ‘black dog’ – is something that been so much a constant companion that it’s a shock to notice its rare absence. Which certainly hasn’t been the case here.
Oh well: ’twas a good idea at the time, I guess…