David Johnson

A Stone in Time

There is a remote road on the far west side of the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales. Sealed but single tracked, with an occasional passing place. You are unlikely to see anyone there unless they are out hiking those barren hills. On a cold, wet day, the sort of day that I think about as I write this, isolation is the dominant feeling.

And then you see a stone standing there, just off the road, but not of the road’s time. A small fence protects it, though I sense that it doesn’t need such protection. Conspicuous by its presence in this featureless landscape, at least featureless of human constructs. A single upright stone, purposefully placed there at some point in time. A stone standing in a place where there are no purpose built or placed objects. Dwarfed by the hills around, it stands there, a testament to time, to presence, to human presence.

The stone appears to freeze time in its being there. Now, the past and eternity are all captured by its existence. I march on in my life, the seasons and years go through their cycles, the stone remains.

It is not excessively large. It does not exhibit strength, in the sense of physical capacity. It does though exhibit power in its presence, in its staying through time.

I think about this stone from time to time. I have not seen it in a while, but I’m sure that it is still there, outlasting those who positioned it, but announcing their presence on this earth - the past, now and eternity, all in that moment that you set your eyes on it….and then remember its presence.

Alentejo, Portugal

I am reminded of the Brecon Beacon stone while staying in the far west of Alentejo in Portugal. This area is populated by Neolithic menhirs. Simple, but striking boulder constructs, that dot the landscape. My first thought when I saw them was that they had been deposited here by ancient glaciers. Apparently not. There is purpose to their presence and appearance, as determined by early man - aliment with the planets, mapping the land, expressing eternity through the metaphor of stone.

Most of these constructs are boulders, some balanced on others. However, not far from where we are staying is a standing stone. This stone is much larger, both in bulk and height, than the stone in Wales.

Human habitation is still very much present in this corner of Portugal.

Still in this stone’s presence, I experience human presence from the past…time stops. I experience now, as I look onto it. And I experience eternity, as I see the passage of time, through to the future, as I look on at its presence.

Absolutely perfect timing. The grandkids and family arrive today…and I get a migraine. It started last night, and will probably last for three days. They usually do. I haven’t had a migraine for a while now, and this one feels as though it is making up for lost time.

Well I had a lovely, unexpected surprise today. Years ago, or so it seems, there was an iOS app called Clear, a minimalist List keeping app. It appears that, also a while ago, I signed up for news of updates to the app. I stopped using the app, and the app dropped off the App Store.

Well today an email dropped into my Inbox, right out of the blue, announcing a new beta of the app available on TestFlight. It is now rebranded as Clear: Treat Yourself. While I’m unsure if I still will use the app, I have it installed to explore and test. If you are interested, here is the link to the beta.

Finished reading: On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin. A wonderful read that took me back to the Welsh mountains that I overlooked for almost twenty years. 📚

Current mood, after a day with a lot of driving.

Sitting outside next to a table with my Kindle in it, along with sun glasses, a can of beer, and a soft glasses case. Laundry is hanging on a clothes horse, just out of focus.

We had a couple of exterior walls painted white earlier this week. While we were in Lisbon, the local birds decided to bless one of the walls with berry coloured poop. Thankfully we were able to clean it off - yes I know time will see the white walls discoloured…but so early after being painted?!

Out for a walk.

Old man wearing a white cardigan and black shorts, out for a walk in the narrow streets of Lisbon, steadying himself with a cane. Stationary traffic clogs the single lane road.

I’m sitting in an Uber ride and Walking On Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves plays on the radio. My spirits immediately feel lifted. That never fails to happen with this song.

🤧 In Lisbon. My seasonal allergies are playing up. I don’t blame this occurrence on the city, rather they have been with me since last night. The wind is definitely not helping, though.

Setting the mood for a Sunday Morning…
Sunday Morning Jazz by Gillie Meyer

🥱 I slept late this morning. Very unlike me, I guess that I was tired? Having said that, I have notice that I go to bed later here in Portugal...and so tend to wake up later. However, this morning was particularly late. Not many plans today. A quieter day. Maybe the body knew that?

When a Saturday feels like a Sunday, and then I realize that Sunday is still to come. Long weekend in disguise 🥸

😶‍🌫️ It’s a cool, misty morning, with a beautiful freshness in the air. The sort of coolness that only comes during spring and summer, as a precursor to warmer weather later in the day.

🐰 I’ve said it before, but will say it again, “where do all of these dust bunnies come from?” I vacuum in the morning, and they appear to be waiting for me again by the evening or next morning!! They are more prolific than the real thing.

🏳️ I’m giving in to the third coffee of the morning.

🥱 Waking up to a quiet Sunday morning. This is so much appreciated, my big gratitude for the day. I don’t have to get in a car, navigate city traffic and load up. It was a fun two days, but happy to be home.

I spotted a Micro.blog sticker in Lisbon today. That brought a smile to my face. 😊 @jean

A Micro.blog sticker on a post in Príncipe Real

We are back in Lisbon. An overnight stay. With the city only being an hour from Alcácer do Sal, it is very convenient whether we need to get things done, or a cultural visit.

We arrived yesterday, and will be leaving later today. This is a “getting things done” visit, and I am looking forward to dialing down the activity tomorrow.

I am writing this in a small church square, Largo de São, while Melissa is busy elsewhere. I feel as though I am slowly connecting the dots in Lisbon, at least in this part of the city. Since my earliest days of travel, I have enjoyed just people watching. Observing the city in action, sitting and watching what is going on, people going about their business. In it, and apart from it.

No Micro meetup on this visit.

Keeping an eye on you, in Lisbon.

A very large mural of a dog, on a wall in Lisbon

A large painting of knight on a wall in Lisbon

🥵 Phew! The temperature started at 16°C/60°F today. By 3:00pm it is forecast to be 35°C/95°F. Wilting slowly.

🧓 I'm either showing my age, or my disconnect from modern parlance…or both?This week I have had to look up a couple of acronyms that I had no idea what they stood for, but appeared to be being used quite liberally.

A lunchtime well spent.

Empty lunch plates and beer glasses at Momento restaurant in Alcácer do Sal

What an insane range of temperatures we are going to be facing here today. Depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on, it will be going from 12°C/53°F this morning, up to 32°C/89°F by late afternoon.

And more to follow in the coming week.

☕ There’s that coffee that I was looking forward to as I went to bed.

🙃 It’s one of those nights when I go to bed looking forward to tomorrow morning’s coffee.