Sights of Portugal: exploring the National Park of Gerês

There is something that’s a lot bigger than any of our lives, or any pandemic – Nature. It doesn’t matter how many of us are born and die, how we live, how we thing, what makes us laugh or cry. It doesn’t matter the wars we create, the peace treaties we eventually sign. The borders we imposed between countries, the ways we all ended up speaking differently. Race, religion, ethnicity, politicals, sexualities. All of that was “invented”, was or is temporary. Pretty much completely insignificant when in comparison to Nature.

The mountains, the oceans, the trees, the rocks, the rivers. Everything has been here before, has been here as long as Humanity can remember, and it will prevail as long as Humans don’t end up destroying its own home. I love how such things remind me of how insignificant and little our lives really are. Of how nothing really matters in the great scheme of things.

Idiotically, we keep searching for a meaning, and probably there isn’t one. Why can’t we just stop and look around, to the magnificient gift it is to be alive and able to be a witness of the mighty force that Nature really is? Why can’t we just be happy with that. Simply content. I think that is the only answer we need.

Gerês is a place where you go to simply wonder and be content. I think right now that is what we need to aim for. To be content with what we have and forget about everything the pandemic took away from us – control. Especially because even thinking of my own ambition for control facing the majestic mountains and rocks of Gerês, I wanted to laugh at my own stupidity. How do I even dare to think there was even such a thing as control?

And to answer that same question, there was this single tall pine tree, which seemed to be giving me the middle finger.

In Gerês the wind shouts at you, calling out the presumption of humans. The mountains laugh at how small you are, how ignorant. The trees graciously keep themselves, providing us shade, in sympathy. The rocks bully us, how quickly and easily they could smash our fragile bodies. The rivers flow, sometimes stronger, sometimes emptier, but giving life to thousand living beings, moulding rocks and tracing the terrain.

This is the North that has stopped invaders, defined borders, and impressed the eyes of humans. Because if you look at all of this and not a single emotion trespasses your soul, if you still feel important and superior in comparison to everything else, if you don’t fear the heights and you don’t respect the Nature around you, then… you truly must be lost. I assure you, I might not know much, but one thing I’m certain of is that Nature is greater than me, you, all of us.

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