When I talk about the summer being on, I mean that the hottest days of the year have landed on our land between the Portuguese mountains of the Serra de São Mamede in Marvão. I already felt that this morning during my daily yoga and meditation session. The sun doesn’t rise very early here, around 6:30, but around 9 o’clock I feel the warmth rising. 

These mornings are lovely with the birds still chirping, with the jubilant bee-eaters leading the way, with a neighbour hoeing in the dusty earth and my husband hauling gravel. Every sound is a contrast to the silence that precedes the heat. In the afternoon, that silence will grow into immobility. Nature then withdraws completely from life, she puts herself to sleep, takes a siesta. 

So do I. After lunch, I take a half-hour power nap and then find myself at my desk. Shutters and windows closed to keep the house cool. Even the kitchen door stays closed as much as possible. Koos the dog does not walk back and forth to and from the house on these days. He sleeps deeply and only comes into movement when the sun has set. Where is Rus the cat? No idea. He is somewhere in the shade, thinking about what he is going to do later on.  

Just before the sun disappears behind Marvão around seven o’clock, the day reaches its highest temperature and then goes down rapidly. The nights are always cool. We think we live in a wonderful climate, especially since the humidity is sometimes so low that the hygrometer cannot measure it. 

When I do have to be outside in the afternoon, it feels like the desert. Everything seems to slow down and distance itself from where I am. Thoughts melt away like the clocks in Salvador Dalí’s painting The Persistence of Memory, which depicts the relativity of time. And that is exactly what I feel. 

Time is not made of stone, time is liquid like water that continues to flow for all eternity. 

Although we humans turn, during our summers, outwards and dance with each other, the height of that summer can simultaneously touch our deepest being. The heat brings the feeling of timelessness that normally only appears when your thoughts have become inaudible.