…as old as a moment in the Odyssey

About halfway between Tunes and Pinhal Novo, on the train to Evora, where the landscape is hilly and sometimes terraced, where gnarled oaks share the ground with pines and mimosa, you see the farm and gasp. That’s the one, you say quietly — the house walls the same colour as the earth, red-brown, not whitewashed like most of the houses seen from the train. Theres’ s a small barn, sheep on the green hill, and a few hives planted among olive trees and some shapely oranges. A brook catching the sunlight. A single horse. Who would you have been, who could you have been, if this had been your place on earth, your life? What would you have done? You’d have known about bees, their intimates in yellow blossoms, the common names for those purple daisies, the shaggy-barked trees with the long grey leaves. Further along, pigs foraged among the oaks, one of them running with its snout in the air, as old as a moment in the Odyssey.

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