3:15 in the morning
not my usual waking hour
life: examined invites you to get curious—it’s a collection of ideas and thoughts about living a creative, intentional life—written from my perch in Portugal to you.
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It's late. Or early, depending on your perception of time.
For me, it's both. It’s too late and too damn early. Does 3:15am even count as morning time—or is it still the middle of the night?
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These are my thoughts as I listen to the rain come down.
The rain isn't falling with that gentle and melodious rhythm I love, a dreamy sound that induces sleep.
No, this rain
it sheets sideways,
it lands with a vengeance
and it wakes me from my already restless half-slumber.
I want to sleep. I want to sleep deeply. Sleep safe in a cocoon and held like a promise—without fear of water intrusion. But that's not on the menu tonight.
I am on flood watch. Again.
I'm listening to the rain come through the vent above the stove as it fills the mixing bowl I placed under the incessant drip-drip-drip.
I check all doors. Front door? No water intrusion (yet). The kitchen door to the saguão? Fine for now. Water fills the courtyard; the drain is handling the onslaught.
One of the two toilets reminds me of its existence as the water gurgles and gradually rises in the bowl. I'm afraid of this rain. Afraid the shower drain will spew the overflow that the city's sewer can't handle like it did last week.
Is it high tide again?
Last week it was high tide when the water came up the drain; both toilets burbling their threat to overflow. So far tonight, this hasn't happened.
I thank the small gods for last week's favors realizing today I might not be so fortuitous.
Forgive my incoherence.
This last issue of life: examined for 2022, comes to you unedited, mostly, and without a plan.
It's not the letter I wanted to write, but it's the letter that wants to be written. It's almost stream-of-consciousness, yet I'm oh-so-awake as I move small furniture and rugs off the floor and onto the countertops.
Portugal: Adverse weather forecast across much of the country through at least Dec. 20
Rés do chão
I live on the ground floor (Rés do chão) of a small apartment building. My front door opens onto a small rua—kind of a back alley, laneway sort of affair.
It's narrow, local, and quiet.
My casa pequena on this hidden street in the winding and walkable historic center of Setúbal is charming. And although I love it—it's as near-perfect as a small home can be—I have been worried about flooding.
In front of my door is a manhole-covered drain. Downspouts on neighboring buildings seem directionally challenged, and there are other drains with grate-like covers along the street.
It's all fine when it works, but these back-to-back storms challenge this haphazard system. And there will more storms like this to come.
Would I be safer higher up?
Sure, but the upper floors are not without their threats, too. In the face of climate catastrophe, there is no ultimate safety from weather and natural disaster.
So, I've chosen to live at street level for many reasons, knowing that I'm placing myself and my home at risk should the flood waters rise.
That's all I've got, dear reader, to share at this unearthly hour.
Daybreak will be here soon; the rain has slowed enough to allow me to sleep. Of course, it won't be the best night of sleep, but I'm grateful for what I can get under these extraordinary circumstances!
For those in, or interested in, Portugal:
Monitor the IPMA site for weather warnings and the Civil Protection (prociv) site for flood advisories.
View the Portugal.gov.pt for the full text and list of restrictions.
Seek secure shelter as necessary.
Notify friends and family of your safety.
JUST ONE GOOD LINK:
It would be foolish to exclude the possibility that plants have some physical basis for consciousness that we do not yet know about. But even if plants were as sensitive to pain as animals, it would still be better to eat them than to eat meat.
By Peter Singer —> influential author, thinker, and Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University via Project Syndicate
Thank you Thank you Lisa, Denny, and Lisa for supporting life: examined through Buy Me a Coffee. Your generosity affords me time to write this letter to you each week(ish).
Whether a coffee, a comment, a like, or a share—I’m grateful to have you along for the ride.
Until next time —> be kind, hug animals, wave to your neighbors, and thank you for reading life: examined!
Shanna, I was hoping to lead with an inspiring quote about vigilance, but found only politically-oriented ones, not climate-oriented ones, so abandoned that idea. What did bring me here is weather-related however. While getting drenched the other day, I took shelter in the entry of the Farmacia Luisa Todi where a woman walking by stopped and asked me if I was “Shanna”. I said, “Sorry, no”, and she continued on her way. As the rain showed no sign of stopping, I decided to keep walking, and caught up with her, where she was stopped a couple blocks ahead of me. I asked her if she was lost, she said she was looking for the entrance to the igreja you wrote about in your blog… then I remembered that you were the Shanna that did that YouTube video about Parque Bonfim that I watched before my husband and I moved here to Setubal in October! To the point: small universe, small world, small harbor town! Feliz Año Novo! (And if you see someone who looks like you, it’s probably me!)
Hi Shanna, wishing you a very Happy Christmas and joyeous New Year, take care, hope the flooding has abated! One Christmas in Spain, it was actually Christmas Day! We were just about to eat our Christmas dinner when water started seeping through the floor tiles!! Didn't need to go swimming in the sea which was only a couple of minutes away, our lounge was like a swimming pool!! Different Christmas that year! Take care, hugs xx