Windows on the soul


I have a strange entry for Dawn’s Lingering look at Windows this week.  Maybe a little mournful, and not playing strictly by the rules.  But I do think that these windows are rather beautiful, and hope that you will too.

Eternal roses

Roses for eternity

Sunflowers for Fernanda

Sunflowers for Fernanda

 Simplicity for Maria

Simplicity for Maria
Lilies and colour for Joao

Lilies and colour for Joao

More roses for Rosa

More roses for Rosa

Eternal health

Eternal health

The wife of Jacinto

The wife of Jacinto

And pretty pink for Teresa

And the prettiest of pinks for Teresa
All keeping each other company

All keeping each other company

In England we have nothing like this, and I am always drawn by this expression of love.  On a Sunday afternoon, in a sleepy Algarve village, family members come and go, bringing fresh flowers and relighting candles.  I watch quietly and respectfully, and then try to capture the serenity.  Even in such a tiny village, newer members have their problems.

Reaching the top boxes is for the fit and agile

Reaching the top boxes needs a head for heights

Windows come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they?  For a very different view, visit Dawn- A Lingering look at windows-  week # 5


  1. Such a beautiful cemetery Jo! Have never seen one with niches like these. I visited an abandoned one in Calcutta that was the diametric opposite, sad and uncared for.

    1. These seem popular in Portugal, and Spain too. In the case of this village, Cacela Velha, I think space is an issue. The cemetery is cliff top with nowhere to expand to (it’s already as big as the village 🙂 )

    1. Yes, in a village like this, space is paramount, Pomme. This cemetery is almost as big as the village and it sits on a cliff top so there’s no room for “expansion”. 🙂

    1. That begs the question, Guiseppe- what happens if you had a really bad relationship with your parents? That isn’t the case for me but I can certainly think of instances. Would there just be a tombstone “for show” but not maintained?
      I think that they are lovely, and have spent time wandering in cemeteries in Poland and in Portugal. 🙂

  2. I don’t think it’s strange at all, but I guess I grew up with the tradition of photos on tombstones to remember loved ones. Your photos are lovely and really capture the care and attention people pay to the deceased.

  3. Jo, such a beautiful post ….. and full of respect. A wonderful way to create a memorial – were people can add photos and flower arrangement. Thanks for the beautiful sharing.

  4. Very lovely, and yes, very bittersweet. I do love the image of the Portuguese families bustling to and fro and bringing flowers to their deceased loved ones. At least they still hold them in their hearts. 🙂

    1. The deceased seem to be still a part of life, in a lovely way, Cathy. My cemetery visits are more a question of guilt. Mam is still in my heart but I rarely go. It’s not at all a spiritual place.

      1. That’s too bad about the cemetery where your mom is buried, Jo. Too bad it’s not in a joyous place like the one in Portugal. You must have been Portuguese in a previous lifetime! 🙂

  5. I’m always fascinated by these too when I’ve come across them Jo . In some ways without getting into a religious debate 😉 they do seem to honour and celebrate the passing on of a loved one with out a morbidity which can pervade at times in some cultures.
    I really like this interpretation Jo .

    1. Thanks, Poppy. I felt very awkward about posting this, as I do about taking the photos. I find them very moving, but they are so personal. The family with the ladder made me smile but I hesitated for a long while before including the shot.

      1. .. do you know I ‘ve just thought maybe it’s because there are photographs of the people .. and it feels so much more personal .. I really don’t think you should worry Jo you have posted in a very respectful manner x

  6. Nothing morbid about it. You are a photographer. Photographers record life. And death and by sharing your photos we all learn something. I have anyway! Thanks Jo 🙂
    Jude xx

  7. If you make it back to Venice, I bet you’d like a wander around the cemetery island San Michele. They have similar boxes there with photos of the dead, and some pretty ornate gravestones too.

    1. I seem to have a vague memory of that, Richard. We’ve been to Venice 3 times, once staying at Lido and tripping around the lagoon. Fabulous! 🙂 Somebody suggested Pere Lachaise in Paris. Must be getting morbid in my old age 🙂

  8. this is a beautiful post! when i read the title, i expected to see closeups of eyes… i’ve been stubborn w/the slow internet and kept pushing the reload button and finally saw the post!! wow – you put a lot of work into this one!


  9. Jo I love your take on windows. I too find when we travel that the cemeteries in some countries are exquisite. Sounds like an odd word but really true. In Slovenia they were absolutely immaculate, almost like beautiful parks that clearly were often visited.

    1. The cemeteries in Portugal (and Poland, too) are very lovely, but I’ve never seen this “box” style in Poland. I imagine it’s a practical, space saving solution (but easier if you’re tall 🙂 )

  10. Very European though aren’t they? When I was listening to the presentation from the (UK) architecture students a few weeks back, I mentioned the niches in the cemeteries and they didn’t know what I was talking about.

    I wouldn’t normally wander into one, but I have looked at more historical ones, eg in Alora or Comares here is Spain. And a few others that I can’t remember. Don’t think I have visited in the Algarve though.

    But for commemoration, you have to go a long way to beat Père Lachaise in Paris.

  11. Why strange..? 🙂

    The death is a part of our life as birth is – whatever we like it or not… 🙂

    Windows aren’t only for the future. in my eyes you make a great choice here… 🙂

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