Europe N to S: Paying Tolls (4/19/17) 


Today’s Miles: 21.2
Total Miles: 5,489.7

São João de Madeira, Portugal – April 19, 2017

Dark clouds cut across the western horizon, shading away the afternoon sun as we sit to eat lunch on a bus stop bench. Days of sun have followed us from Santiago, broken only by a few foggy mornings and an occasional cloud lost in the blue sky.

“It looks like rain,” Daya says.

I glance up, more focused on not slicing my finger as I cut hunks of bread for a sandwich than the clouds. Rain hadn’t entered my mind. It does look like rain, like the dark likes of a front moving across the distance, carrying sheets of grey underneath the edges.

We walk on, unmoved by the weather, watching it come. A flash of lightning streaks through the clouds. The white line glows and disappears, searing into my eyes for a moment. I count the beats without​ thinking until thunder breaks around us. More flashes. More thunder.

The road is loud with traffic. Car and truck engines growl. Wheels rattle on cobblestones. It is all louder than the thunder, but the thunder feels bigger somehow, deeper, more honest, like it could swallow it all the man-made noise if it wanted.

Rain comes to collect the storms toll. We slide into jackets and stretch covers over packs. A minute later we are walking again, feeling rain splatter on our clothes, listening to the drops fall around us, grateful for the cool air, for the electric show overhead, for the feeling of smallness a storm casts on everything below.

The price is cheap. A few drops of water are nothing against an electric-cut sky. We pay and walk on.

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3 thoughts on “Europe N to S: Paying Tolls (4/19/17) 

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