journal archives

Memory

- 09/10/2018 -

Memory

We are made up of memories; they define who we are. Stretching as far back as our childhood, from our mothers's voices, to the unforgettable smell of our grandparents’s wooden homes, and the plate of carrot cake made every Sunday for family lunch. These memories are unfolded and awakened by the continuation of life, and, from time to time, they come to us as small pieces of happiness recalled. 
 
Nowadays, our daily rhythm and stressed routines barely allow us to absorb these gifts, and these valuable flashbacks of genuine happiness become rare.
 
Our most profound wish is to nurture these joyful moments, by encouraging others to explore their own memories of happiness. Thus, through the bonds we create with our guests, we may inspire a contemplation of some of the deepest meanings of memory, private and collective.
 
Our house is so often painted by the spirits of so many special people, that we have tried to find the best way to preserve them. After all, these unique souls are the core of our home’s memory.
This story is about Alice. Her free spirit filled Santa Clara 1728 from the moment she walked in, along with Royce. Their sensitive and curious approach to our project, to our people and to every element of the house, made our connection very easy. As the days passed by, we would sit at the dining table and unravel each of our own stories.
 
Alice is a poet and visual artist, and her work brings together different ways of expressing emotion and thought - she has her own unique approach. 
 
A genuine sense of family is felt through her writing, as she composes a postcard for her loved ones. You can feel the warmth coming from her eyes and her words.
 
Perhaps because of this family bond that we share, along with her sensitive, yet peculiar way to see the world, it felt right to ask her about memory. We shared our visions about it, and about what it means to us for our guests to leave a mark in Santa Clara, the same way we aim to do in each of our guests’ hearts.
 
Through our many conversations, we asked Alice to leave her own memory of her stay - Lisbon, Portugal, Santa Clara, a special occasion or moment, something that, years from now, would bring her back to that exact moment. This is her memory:
“The months flow by. We move with them. It is March in Lisbon.
 
Pink light and blue bounced from the water, from the buildings. We Wander. 
Passage ways, steps. We wander. 
 
An elderly couple climbs the stairway in their slow elegance.
A torrent of rain, sudden as the light that follows, instant, insisting. We wander, 
the city tilts towards the sea then leans into the hills. We climb and pause, wondering, reflecting.

There are hush voices - rises from the cafes, hushed in a language I do not comprehend but imagine otherwise and respond to, in silence.

The fish seller is showing his catch; the fish glisten in the light that pours from their delicate skin.
The young people caress in the café; they are laughing in the joy of their years. 
Nina Simone croons her powerful voice rings through the café that she will not be defeated, that freedom will come.
But the light shifts again and there is the other voice of a distant one, a fado voice in lament, longing, deep into the night. We wander.

The rain comes. The light dims to a pensive glow. Voices again, hushed.
The market sets up beneath the window; we hear the gentle rattle of goods, the men, the women, telling their stories. 
The heart is full. A stranger in a strange land.
A sense of time, suspended, shared, a reciprocity, a sense of possibility, of ease. 

The ships push slowly through the water. Time. Slowly the day opens up, again, on and on, we keep moving.
It is March in Lisbon. Light, voices, steps, rain, sun, rain, wind, the face of a woman, of a man, faces, familiar but foreign, the heart leaps;
There is a nostalgia for more, for all time and all place, for conversation, for silence for a woman’s voice to climb the air in celebration. 

We wander. Coming to this place as we come to ourselves.
There are bells ringing in the distance. The accordion player folds the pleasure of his instrument.
We gather. We listen. We lean into this beautiful moment thinking to remember it, to keep it close, to learn from it.”
 



With these words, Alice left making sure we knew she would come back, to revisit this memory, and make a new one. In the meantime, she left us a piece of her heart as a souvenir, one we will cherish forever. 




 
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