“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.”
“More rays of sunshine were filling the flower bed now, and the marvel and wealth of colors amazed him. It vaguely reminded him of a diving trip once, on a beautiful sunny day of warm waters, endless blue skies and clear and sparkling fresh sea, wast blue oceans, and then right beneath the surface, an intensity and spectacle of thousands of swimming fish, a sea floor filled with sea stars and other sea animals in delightful and vital spectrums of colors he had never seen before. “
In the middle of the book – the main character starts to change.
At the end of that evening he felt like something had changed in him. He had held the book carefully for a long time, enjoyed the tea slowly, and the warm soft light had been absorbed into him for a few hours, leaving him mildly beaming with a calm sensation of glow and a fluid landscape of thoughts. After a while with the book he had learned to follow the rhythm of shifts from beautiful visual scenes to long and intricate reflections about people, life and of thinking in itself. And he had learned to slow down, read every word more carefully, sometimes starting over at the beginning, and giving himself time to fully grasp the full sentence and all the details, and letting them sink in and through a slow transition become his own.
Full chapter here!
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!
As he sat down in the peaceful park his mind started to drift as usual. Swaths of hidden memories and past joys bubbled up from the deep as he watched the ducks glide along the clear calm surface of the lake. Some thoughts were clear and vivid, others more muddled and fragmented, some with strong emotions still, while yet again others strangely remote and neutral after the passing of time and changes in life rendering them distant and beautiful but other like. Ever since he was a little child he had loved the peace of a small lake in the park.
And the day had just begun.