Thursday, April 24, 2014

Life goes on - Joanópolis

The view from the road home.

Yesterday I drove three hours to our fazenda house, spent an hour collecting stuff,  and then drove three hours back. We are going to Argentina next week and we're going to need our hiking boots. For some reason, we haven't been able to fit a fazenda visit into our schedule since Carnaval in early March. So since we're leaving Tuesday for Ushuaia, off I went.

I quite enjoy the ride--it is not long until I am in the curving mountain road of Rodovia Anhanguera. Yes, there were a lot more trucks than on our weekend outings but that just made me slow down more and enjoy the trip. At about 2 1/2 hours, the road becomes dirt and gravel and the cell phone doesn't work. This is the only place that I worry about traveling alone--our history of flat tires recently means that I am quite nervous about every noise from under the car. 

When I reached the house, it was all opened up because the housekeeper was airing out the rooms. She knew I was coming from one of the other ranch staffers -- nope, she doesn't have a phone either. When you need to communicate with the workers, they travel at set times to a place where their cell phones work. Fortunately, as renters, we don't have to worry too much about managing the staff.

Just as I pulled up at the house, the monkeys started calling loudly to each other. They were as close as they ever get, jumping from branch to branch in the pine trees. Far away there was the sound of a chainsaw as some ranch or another cut their eucalyptus trees.  Spiders jumped away from my stomping feet.

Of all the places I have lived or visited in Brazil, the Casa do Alemão or German house, our rented country house, will be the one I miss the most. You can read about it here. I fell in love with this house ten years ago when the owners first bought it from "The German". I waited 8 years to be able to rent it myself and now we will be giving it up in August. 

While I stood there and listened to monkeys and saws, an unusual sadness filled me. Unusual because the fazenda makes me happy. I realized how much I will miss the solitude, the sounds, the brushes with nature -- monkeys, parakeets and lightning bugs (not so much the spiders). I will miss hiking on trails with no trail blazes. I will miss watching my kids run up and down the hill in front of the beautiful mountain of Morro Selado. I will miss a place where the tv, internet, cell phone and home phone don't work. I will miss you, Alemão.

And as I stood there thinking all this, I realized that the Alemão will not miss me. The monkeys will live on safely away from bad guys, the parakeets will keep their house in the roof, the spiders will actually have a better life away from the capture-and-release routine they get with the twins. Life goes on at the Alemão, but soon not for me. When I return after August, there will be new tenants. When I return after August, it will not be "mine" (in fact, it never really was).

Life goes on. It's not something to be sad about but rather happy.  I wouldn't want things any different for the tenants and furry, feathered and 8-legged residents who will be there when I leave.

Lucky them!

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