The Tale “The Light of Marva”
It took me a while to decide, whether this short article should be included in my Spiritual Diary, filled with varied life stories, or in my writing process. I decided to choose the former route, because I have something to tell you about the walks and journeys I have taken over the last few years.
When I decided to write “Hypnosis, a Return to the Past”, I had the idea of also publishing a short story. I wanted, above all, to take the opportunity to write a story about a village in Portugal called Marvão, that I know and love since I was a child, and that has inspired me all these years, until adulthood.
In my lines of fiction, I give it the name “Marva”. Thus came the short story: “The Light of Marva: the story before Jasmine”.
The idea was to tell about Jasmine’s journey through these lands, in search of meaning and life energy, that would give her back the power, to guess the future. It was natural for me to mention places and names that are usually linked to this region, as I have travelled a lot to Marvão, and know most of its secret corners.
As you can see, walks and trips around this world, tend to bring all kinds of influence to Art. They are crucial, specially for those who seek inspiration.
The search for an authentic life
Getting to know places that surprise us by their beauty and silence is something that is noted in my Logbook. I like the isolation that certain places make me feel, because I feel a greater connection with a world that transcends my own. For some, this sensation can be overwhelming and disturbing, but for me, it is of enormous beauty. The mystery of certain lands fascinates and attracts me.
The fact that I have perhaps always lived in the city has made me wish for an authentic life: a routine more connected to nature, less material, with more quality time and more time to live and to write. It was under the title “Dream of an Authentic Life” that I wrote last year, the outlines of a trip to Marvão.
I hope you enjoy it.
The Journey to Authenticity: Olive Oil
It was the last day of the year and we drove the car, through temperatures of 1 degree, towards a valley, which was unknown in the Alentejo region. Few Portuguese would remember, on 31st December, on the eve of a new year, to visit the Lagar Museu Melara Picado Nunes.
When we arrived, we realized that only we, plus another couple, were the guests of honour for that day.
“I don’t usually receive Portuguese people on these visits, in fact, it’s almost always foreigners. So, today, on the last day of the year, it’s a surprise that there are only Portuguese here”, the now owner and manager of the entire space told us.
After visiting the old “Lagar”, we learnt that “Azeite Castelo de Marvão”, an olive oil so little known and commercialised in the capital, was produced there. This was followed by an olive oil tasting session, which was accompanied by a piece of bread. What came next was a revelation.
After a visit to the Lagar, we arrived at a room with a table well stocked with various brands of olive oil, some better known than others. We all tasted a bit of everything, until wecame to the conclusion that some of those golden liquids tasted like olive oil, and others didn’t. “Is this what we’re using in the city, as seasoning?”, we asked each other. Yes, we had been wrong about the real taste of olive oil.
That day, I got to thinking: how many smells and sensations have we lost through the industrialisation of food? We spend, for example, years watering our lettuces with an olive oil that we don’t know the real taste of. I’ve had a lot of questions in my head since that day. It is not by chance that we hear more and more about a return to our origins, about the need to revive an authentic life, to commune with the pleasures of the earth. How is it possible to go through life without really knowing what authentic, pure olive oil tastes like?
And whoever says “olive oil” says many other things. Bread. Meat. Eggs.
I am sure, that these thoughts would be confirmed by the wisest and the elders of the villages. Deep down, only they know these primary tastes of the products, which makes them the true guardians of a precious treasure: the taste!
The taste… even the Romans knew better than us what real olive oil tasted like. So, we lost the fight to the Romans, I think…and perhaps, if the stones of the Roman city Ammaia could speak, they would say exactly the same.
Looking at the “Azeite Castelo de Marvão” website, one can read that tradition dictates combing the branches with calloused hands, to harvest the best Galician olive from the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park. Maybe that’s what’s missing in our world, so far from the pleasures of the land. Nobody wants to dirty or hurt their hands to extract from life, a smell, a taste or a truly authentic feeling!