“He calmly looked at the trees and the flowers around him, and took a deep sigh. The village was still flashing in the back of his mind, drifting further and further away, but then coming back again with images of the square, the river, the little ducks, and the streets. And a wave of different emotions for the little everyday habits, like closing the door to the house, turning a corner on the street, seeing a square opening up before him, or the little cup of tea in the evenings. It was so close to him at times, so vivid and alive, so full of joy and light and inspiration for him. It was a time of great change, and of peace and stability, and of new forms of joy and happiness entering into his life, giving new perspectives on life and people, and on everything before and after those years. It was like a beaming little oasis of beauty in his mind, and a permanent source of new energy and sweet memories. It had changed him, and his future, forever.”
“Once he met a man on a little boat in Vietnam, a smiling man in his fifties, quietly helping with the equipment and assisting the crew with the day trip for tourists. As the talks drifted away from sunny days in the sea to other and bigger topics, and his family life, his eyes deepened as he talked about losing three of his sons in the war, and having supported the wrong side, and the decades of hardships and pain that had followed. After those words there was just quietness for a long time.”
“After some hours of rain the twilight fell, and the deep blue blended with the little beautiful street lights outside. He thought of the last few weeks, and then felt how his heart was beating. There was a little voice, and a little smile, that was always with him now. Even when he was not seeing it or thinking about it, it was always there, in him.”
“On another corner was standing the flower shop lady. She had the most wonderful smile and sparkling eyes, although with some hidden sadness at times, but always helpful and engaging in her recommendations and putting together wonderful collections of nice and colorful flowers. The shop spread out onto the streets with the sunshine in the morning, with just a little contraction of the flower stand for lunch and a little break, and then spreading out again in the afternoon, a little bit more careful but still lighting up the street and bringing joy to the people passing by.”
He always loved to walk. The body slowly moving, the limbs performing their natural functions, and the breathing. The air softly through the mouth, the throat, filling the chest. The clarity of the senses. How we walk through our lives, a long stream of changing scenery and endless repetition.
As a little boy, to school, on travels, all the memories and experiences connected to and absorbed in the state of walking. Faint travel memories from Greek temples by the Mediterranean Sea, to dark and busy streets in the midst of China, the flowing green landscapes of lush Vietnam, the classical buildings of downtown Washington, gushing geysers on Iceland, tiny streets of childhood summer vacations filled with sunshine and soft scents of flowers in green, violet, yellow. All recorded and remembered while in motion, moving and carefully placing one foot in front of the other. Living life and moving through time.
Longer excerpt here!
“One student in particular had a deep and vulnerable strain in her playing, which never showed through the appearance or in her conversations, but once she started playing there was a unique tone and a shivering nerve glowing in the deep, which captivated those who were listening, and somehow gave comfort to both herself and to others.”
“And that night he kept dreaming about new travels once again, about tropical islands, swinging palms and blue pristine skies, or bustling town squares in ancient old cities, with a little sidewalk table and a coffee, or sometimes blended into a glass of wine, soaking in the hot sun and the historical buildings, and feeling the thick warm atmosphere of a lively town with a big heart and passionate outbursts of joy, enthusiasm, and intense human bonds blistering with intensity and love.”
“The new friend didn’t say much during the lunch, but he noticed her presence and felt the little influence on the world that had already happened. Among the other friends that day was Georgio, who was playing bassoon in the local orchestra, and Robert, who was working part-time in a little bookshop in the village. It was relaxing, sunny, and a day full of promise as the time in square passed over to noon, and they all dissolved into different paths as they parted to meet again the next day.
He slowly went home, filled up with the stories and great chats of the day, and wondered if not life had changed a little bit that day, or if it was just the seasons changing and the anticipation of joy and the ease of summer that was becoming a little bit stronger, and a little bit closer. But as twilight and darkness later fell, and the transparent fumes from the cup of tea was dancing upwards again, in the dimly lit corner next to the beautiful wall of books, he still couldn’t tell. But he felt calm and happy, and a tiny bit different person than just the day before.”
“One morning a new friend appeared at the sidewalk table, unassumingly sitting beside Maurice and carefully reading the menu before softly doing the orders with a flowing smile at the end. Her dark hair was shimmering in the sun, and a careful but withdrawn sparkle was hiding in her eyes. He immediately felt a bit dizzy.”
He finally got up from his chair, carefully put some bills under the coffee cup, and slowly walked towards the main entrance of the park. The afternoon was coming closer and he wanted to go home before the later part of the day started. The shadows were getting just a little bit longer, the sunlight a bit more warm and golden, and a wonderful peace was resting over the whole park. The barista smiled to him again, a little “Thank you”, and then “See you later”. He thanked, and waved, and kept on walking. Still not knowing that the big and life-changing moment that day, was about to arrive.