69. THE POWER OF A SINGLE THOUGHT

I think, therefore I am. And, right now, what I’d like to be is alone. Since Covid back in March 2020, I’ve hosted a long and motley string of itinerant people who’ve lived at Golden Web in exchange for work. All strangers, most have arrived with no plans to leave. I’ve made a big mistake…

68. A GOOSE IS COOKED

In the week leading up to Christmas, there is no fanfare but rather a malaise in the air. A few dozen decorations droop sadly, suspended from tree-shaped strings of mismatched lights in the village center. Stores are closed, their windows scattered with dusty merchandise. A dirty Santa sits on a balcony; A single car passes…

67. CHRISTMAS IS A COMING…

And the sheep are getting fat. Well, Amalia, is. Amalia, who will be a year and four months at Christmas, is getting quite plump and now is 65 kilos of hard-headed, greedy, but loveable, woolly mutton. Bertie, on the other hand, is a tiny sweet-natured, 6-month old ram whose large horns and raging hormones belie…

66. THIN SKINS AND SHELLS OF PROTECTION…

I didn’t particularly like the beach as a child. The sand and sun irritated my skin and the sea was hardly enticing with all that lurked within. The water was crystal clear at Mammee Bay on the north coast of Jamaica where we holidayed. But occasional clumps of seaweed washing in from the reef would…

65. IN TOO DEEP?

I arrive at the farm in a slow, steady drizzle to find my olive trees standing in acres of water. Dozens of seagulls have made the branches their roosts. Hundreds of others paddle around in the brown lake. Another few score soar above the newly formed swampland, scouting for insects and rodents washed from their…

64. FLOODS OF THOUGHT

It can’t be real if it only exists in the mind. Or so I tell myself as I lie in a thick, billowy, cumulus cloud of a bed at the home of Tara and Jonathan in the nearby town of Olhao. Ensconced in heavenly Casa Fuzeta, it is hard to imagine the flood really happened….

63. BLESSINGS AND OTHER ACTS OF GOD

“Come for lunch!” I tell Ochi and Dick, a couple from England, who’ve driven almost an hour in their campervan to meet me. I’ve kept them waiting almost as long and now its time for my next appointment. “I’m meeting a couple yoga teachers at a vegetarian restaurant in the village but I’m sure you’d…

62. ON CATERPILLARS, CROCODILES, AND CAMPERS

Immersed in all this reflection, I am so loving the absence of people at Golden Web. I am so grateful there is not even one human being around that I wonder if I’m cut out for a retreat centre. So what will I do when dozens of people are coming and going? How will I…

61. SHEEP SOUP FOR THE SOUL

Amalia is the first animal I’ve owned since childhood, other than a hamster I had for five days in college. (Fish don’t count.) I returned that hamster to the pet shop when, on evening four, it popped out a litter of seven squirming, bald, pink, toothless pups. Animals weren’t allowed in the dorms; I’d gone…

60. PEOPLED OUT AND ANIMALED IN

My daughter, when she needs alone time from her extrovert mother and her mother’s many friends, tells me she’s ‘peopled out.’ ‘Peopled out’ is her cue for me to leave her alone, give her space. She knows from too much experience that if she says she’s feeling overwhelmed or exhausted or undone, I may attempt…

59. DUPPY KNOW WHO FI FRIGHTEN – Oct 2020

The new volunteer, Kirsty, is settling in. She has arrived from visiting the north of Portugal where she has completed a course in herbal extraction and soap-making. She brings me a lovely hand-made bar. She also spent a couple weeks practicing healing work on a friend’s father, using medicinal plants. Turns out she has studied…

58. AND SPEAKING OF SETTING BOUNDARIES – Oct 2020

Golden Web sits less than two kilometres from the Atlantic. Like the nearby ocean, life here has been sometimes calm, sometimes tumultuous. Golden Web’s weather systems have appeared in the form of people. We’ve endures some choppy moments and some full-on storms. But mostly, its been a predictable a flow of steady, soothing waves with…