The hilly tops of the Gerês mountain range unfold in hazy tones and foggy contours well beyond the horizon. Wind runs in the silence of the empty space and one starts to recognise what is through the physical hale of the solid mass – the mass of the utter beginning, the original creation. It is the perfect place, the ideal home, where the very imperfection of existence is far gone. In this wholesome space, the marks of the thousand year old human presence are gently revealed in the canvas of the landscape – a wall in ruin, the remnant of a footpath. The moment of transmutation occurs – from the sublime to the contingency of our humanness. And the word turns to flesh and now lives in our midst.
From the slight sight of imperfection we look beyond the conception of nature as a differentiated unity – the raw-material from which human life is built henceforth. As in Marx, it is in “metabolic interaction” with Man. Nature produces Man, and Man transforms Nature. People that shape the landscape; the landscape that shapes people. And then, in the silent passing of time, people and landscape become one.
This exchange becomes visible in the descent towards the villages. In the practices of transiency, in the co-existence with animals, in the tillage of the fields, in the use of the home-space and the street. These are ways of life and of inhabiting the living world bound to a declining path on the trail of profound economic and social transformations.
In this way of life, parted from the present times, we can only hold a simulacrum. A memory that can never be an authentic memory, for that past that was will be no more. What is left of it now is what it is this very day, its signs and faded lines. And there lies the act of creation – in the self-willing meeting with the origins, in the intimate and detached relation of one with the others, in the complete immersion into the experience of a present time. To plunge into the Park’s abounding waters – essential to life and to the settlement of Man – and return to the original beginning of all living things.
Bruno Simões Castanheira x