Nightjar has been working hard on a new series for us which is making its debut today. We’ll be posting a new chapter every other day, which will include weekends, so be sure to check in often because you won’t want to miss a single post. The first chapter is about trees which makes Tuesday the right day to begin, so I invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy exploring a bit of Portugal with Nightjar.
This series was inspired by both Ice Swimmer’s “Harakka Island” series (starting here) and a post by rq on the Macedonian rocks that made her homesick, here. . I have no islands nearby to visit but I do have hills with rocks. In fact, I live between two hills that are very different from each other and both mean a lot to me, bringing childhood memories of fossil and rock hunting with my family and childhood friends. I do not go up the hills as often as I used to, but they really aren’t far from home and an afternoon is more than enough to explore one of them. In a November afternoon I went East and had fun among limestone. In a December afternoon I went West and had fun among phyllites and quartz. And yes, my pockets were heavy on my way back home. I can’t resist it. But let’s start our journey… let’s go East!
Chapter 1 – East Hill: trees alive and dead
Going up the hill it’s easy to notice that we are in a harsh environment. Vegetation is sparse due to an acidic, dry and constantly eroding soil. Maritime pines, well adapted to limestone substrates and to summer droughts, rule the landscape.
But they don’t resist forever and can’t grow very tall here. Dead pines are part of the landscape too.
The signs of weathering and erosion are quite evident on this side of the hill, with small “gullies” formed by rainwater. A small olive tree is trying to grow in the middle of the gullies. Good luck, little olive tree, may your roots grow strong enough to hold you there for many years.
In the next chapter we will see the rocks uphill being eroded into those little fragments that make up the gullies, and we will hunt for crystals!