“The birds were flying around him this morning, as he walked by the river to the coffee shop. Gliding white birds and the subtle flow and drizzle of the water. One of his favorite memories from the mountains was a small river falling off a steep cliff, and the water drops dancing downwards in free fall, with random movements and creating a whole little contained spectacle. It was a beautiful little spectacle of nature, and mostly unseen and not related to anything. Just water falling, drops spreading, mostly reaching the ground deep below, and some evaporating into thin air. “
“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.”
“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.”
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!
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.
“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.”
“He went to bed, and as he turned off the lights the mind kept working on the change that he had felt today, four or five different groups of thoughts that kept growing and moving in different parts of his head, making sleep a bit difficult that night. As the dreams started to glide in between the groups and disrupting the faintly crackling knots of bustling activity, like little dams of oily purple water, filled with dispersed images of memories from the day that just passed and mixed with random scenes from forgotten parts of his young life and adolescence, then the next second just silence, then again the purple water spreading on a surface, he slowly lost track of what the topics were all about, or even why he wanted to think about them or why they had been there in the first place. Soon it was all gone and just a floating mesh of incoherent emotions and memories took over. By the time he got back to his senses and had regained some consciousness of what this was all about, a little strip of sunshine had again started to seep downwards on the wall, while another one was sliding over the duvet and onto the pillow, and a third one touched his arm and spread a warm intense feeling throughout his body, opening his eyes very carefully in wonder, before closing them quickly again and sliding the sun-touched arm softly back underneath the duvet.”
“One day when he lived there he woke up a bit early. Outside there was a thin layer of snow, and the sun was carefully trickling through the curtains and made a glowing line of bright yellow on the soft carpet next to the bed. The air was transparent with small shining particles slowly descending into the small strip of light, and a calm and refreshing silence filled the room.
These mornings were one among his favorites. It always gave him a good start on a bright new day.
At times life could be a long string of days like that, fresh and crisp, with subtle beauty and little wonders of nature like the tiny soft snow flakes covering the streets and roof tops. The sun shining a warm blanket over the village, and some scattered points of chimney smoke carefully dissolving into the blue skies, with some small groups of birds gliding over the neighborhoods. The river silently drawing a thin blue line through the village, and the horizons a bit waving in the contrasts over a cold arid landscape and the slowly warming skies.
These beautiful scenes had been repeated thousands of times over the centuries, with the little village growing from nothing into a bustling little town, and seeing the constant flow of lifetimes coming and going, some in silence and some in turmoil, some in joy and some in ease, some in hardships and some in unfairness, some in absence while others in presence, all with the flow of kings and mayors, wars and peace, philosophical strains of humanity, bigger events in history and nature, and the ever relentless passing of time and change.”
“Then at times, the wide open horizons unfolded in life once again. A sudden change, a little trip, a change of scenery, some mountains or lakes or open fields of beautiful scenery, some peaceful animals and rolling hills and fresh air.
It could be blended into the usual habits and rituals of daily life, peaceful hours of reading or staying in touch with old friends, easy chats or deep interesting talks with new people, a quiet walk in modest nature, or sipping the coffee carefully from a new cup in a new place, or the same one for a while, a cup you had gotten a bit familiar with over some days, or some months, or perhaps even one with strong emotions connected to it, from the person who gave it to you, the time you bought it, or some specific talks or moments which were still quietly and firmly a part of the cup – and subtly remembered or felt at times clearly, but mostly unconsciosly but slightly influencing the mood or the tenor of the feelings, silently infusing some tiny blobs of emotions, briefly felt but sometimes lingering for hours, adding some little color or aspect to the perception of the world, to how you see and feel the room around you, or how you experience the people and streets, the sounds, and your own thoughts.”