Just Like Home

It’s been monsoon raining here in Palas. And windy. So much so that our lights have been flickering and our internet hiccuping.

We’ve mostly stayed inside, cozy and warm while smiling out the windows. Being from the Northwest of the US, this is our kind of weather. And we have all the gear for it. When we moved from the US to Valencia, a very warm and sunny place, I still boxed up and shipped our REI weather gear. We couldn’t let it all go. Perhaps it was foreshadowing.

When I think of the global impacts of climate change and water shortages, I imagine Galicia is a safe bet. Our wells here will not be running dry.

I don’t miss living in the Northwest of the US. Not one little bit. But Jeff and I are still water people. Yes, we like salt water. But we are definitely fresh water people. We had a creek flowing through our property in Snoqualmie. Our kids used to play in it when they were small, and dam it up like little beavers. And when the heavy rains came we would sit out under our covered deck above the forest and listen to the creek rage.

As an avid white water kayaker and rafter, Jeff was always checking the river levels. We had friends who lived on the banks of the river. And I cared about the CFS (cubic feet per second) because our kid’s schools were right on the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie. The biggest fastest flowing stretch. When it came up rapidly after snow melt we would get a call at work that they were evacuating the school. Between river rising alerts and cougar on the playground texts from the school, it made my heart pound being so far away in a downtown Seattle office building. Since my kids were 30 miles east being shepherded into a yellow school bus to make for higher ground.

Often we would head down to Snoqualmie Falls just a couple miles from home after a few days of heavy rain. To watch the awesome power of the water go over a nearly 300 foot drop. You could feel the energy come up through your feet.

So this morning over coffee, after days of inches of rain, it was no surprise when Jeff suggested we should head to Portomarin to ‘check on the river.’

‘Lets go see how high it is.’

We drove via Palas de Rei on the N-547. The highway runs parallel to the Camino De Santiago. Hundreds of Peregrinos were walking and getting pummeled by the weather. I am truly mystified how they could see where they were going, it was raining so hard with wind blowing in their faces. And so few open cafes to shelter from the storm due to Covid. Many were using their walking poles to stay upright.

We got to Portomarin and crossed the bridge. Then drove down river to an offshoot where a small river – Rio Loio – meets the main channel of the Rio Miño. The Rio Miño runs south through the city of Lugo all the way to the Atlantic ocean. It forms the natural northern border between Portugal and Spain.

By this time, the never ending rain had turned down to somewhere between sprinkling and a mist. So we got out and walked down to where a small village used to be. The ruins of the houses and stone walls hundreds of years old are still visible. It appears there was a small cemetery or ossuary here, too, as some of the crypts were still visible peeking out above the water line.

A small arched stone and earthen bridge has been built across the river. The water almost covered the arches but we crossed over anyway, and hiked up the other side to look out across the Miño.

A peaceful place on a rainy Monday morning. In summer it’s filled with people swimming and picnicking. Which seems odd to me swimming over a former graveyard.

After our brief adventure we got back in the car to head home. Crossing the big bridge into Portomarin, more Pilgrims were just leaving. Lingering over another cafe con leche, hoping to wait out the rain. And it seems that was a smart bet. The sun is intermittently peeking out. The weather is starting to ease up and will just get better this week. But for now, we will sit inside and enjoy the day. It feels so much like home.

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