The Portugal Years: Year Four – Spring Has Sprung!

Portugal spring

From the dark, cold and wet winter, springs emerges with hope in Portugal. Slowly, layer by layer, the warm clothing withdraws into dresser drawers and armários. Pallid arms turn to bronze from the sun’s warm kisses. The aroma of the lemon trees fills the air. Spring is the planting and growing season.

Bethy always liked playing  out-of-doors. She was right beside me when I was hanging up the laundry in the back yard and spent her time examining the garden our landlady had planted. Vanessa, our landlady’s daughter, often came over to play with Bethy.

One day when Bethy was outside in the garden while I was fixing lunch, she came into the house with bright eyes and said. “Mommy! Mommy! I found a “tattole.” I mentally checked the vocabularies of my English and Portuguese languages and asked her if it was any of the things I could think of. No. It was not.

When Harry came home, I told her to ask Daddy what it was.  No  bells  rang for  him, either.  He asked her where it was. She took him by the hand, down the steps and into the back yard. In the yard, she made a beeline for the fence. She pointed to something on it. As we advanced, she said, “See? Tattole!!” And there it was. A large caracol, called a snail in English, with a shell about the size of a quarter was slowly ascending the fence.

Yes, it was a season of growing, planting and hope. Our little rosebud was thriving. And in that season of hope, we were nurturing another hope that would bloom sometime after Christmas.

Bethy and Vanessa on the stairway up to our apartment in Loures.
Bethy and Vanessa on the stairway up to our apartment in Loures.