#tbt: Once night in February
One night in February, after I had followed my never resting thoughts for way too long, I decided to do what I had been wanting to do for days, no, for weeks, and prepared to take a walk. I promised myself to only take paths that were illuminated by lamps. For safety reasons. And safety gives freedom for creativity.
So I was walking down the street, passing the houses that I pass nearly every day when driving the car, passing the lamps. At the end of the road I turned left and passed houses that I normally don’t pass that often. Past one of the big paddocks, past the farm that sells firewood and during advent season Christmas trees. Here I made a halt and wondered whether I should walk on or turn around and go back. Because the dead end before me attracted me somehow and because I realized that I have never walked it until the end, I decided to follow this feeling and to walk the path between the riding stable and the paddocks. While I was walking and dwelling on thoughts, the typical scent of horses came into my nose. I turned my head to the right and let my glance wander over the paddocks and behind them I saw the houses that I pass every morning by bus. How peacefully they were lying there, those houses with their warm lights. After having passed the extensive buildings of the riding stable, my glance fell upon an old wall and trees covering a house that stood behind. Shortly afterwards I came across the illuminated driveway to that house and that was exactly the moment where I stopped and wondered “Isn’t that what everybody is wishing for? A house in a country side like area but still not too far away from the city? A little house in an area that resembles the landscape in ‘Midsomer Murders’ and when you lift your glance a bit you can see the distant city lights? Wouldn’t this be the perfect location to live in? Finding contemplation in your little house, lying quiet beside a paddock and green fields, calmness in its pure variation and when you feel the need to get in touch with people, feel that hectic life in a city where you sometimes seem to be anonymous and sometimes just too well known by the people you meet, you just walk some minutes, take the next bus and there you are, in that beautiful, dirty, loud, pretty, familiar city of mixed odours, mixed impressions, mixed audiences, mixed shops, mixed feelings and mixed thoughts. How come that I never realized the beauty of this area so much? How come that there are paths directly beside me and still I’ve never walked them before? How can I pass all this beauty and tranquillity without even really perceiving it? Did the hectic of the city dull me so much that I had become unaware of what was going on right next to me? Does it really matter? Now I am here and this moment is just here to be enjoyed, the air is just here to be inhaled and this feeling is just here to help me find contemplation and get my restless mind sorted again.“
I walked further on, letting my glance wander around the paddocks, the green fields, the quiet houses with their illuminated windows until I finally came to the end of the dead end. Here I turned around and stood there for a while, letting all these odours, the fresh breeze, the picture of the sky with stars and everything that I perceived in that moment enter my soul. Then I slowly made my way back the road that had led me to the dead end. Past the illuminated driveway of the house that lies behind an old wall and trees, past the riding stable, past the farm that sells firewood, past the paddocks. After thinking about taking a different way back home, I decided to walk back on my own trail, a bit like a dog. Well, it wasn’t a real decision, but I just did what my inner feeling told me. So I walked past the houses that I normally don’t pass that often, looking around the green meadows and the houses and the small street with parked cars on it. As I walked further on, I watched my own feet making one step after the other, I examined the pavement as I walked on it further and further on. Shortly before the junction where I had turned left before, my look fell upon a small ball lying on the pavement. A small pink and green ball.
As I lifted my head again after having stared on that ball for minutes, my eyes were filled with tears. And out of a sudden a thought entered my mind. “You are not dead! How could you be dead when I still carry you with me in my heart in every step I take, in every decision I make, in everything I do, in everything I am? You are not dead! How could you? How could somebody dare to tell me you are dead when I feel you with me every day? When I can see you in my dreams? When I’m talking to you right now? How could you be dead then? That is ridiculous! You. Are. Not. Dead.!
How could somebody ever tell that somebody is dead? Nobody is ever really dead as long as there are people remembering this person. As long as there are memories, as long as there are photographs, as long as there are texts, diary entries, poems, stories, little notes and emotions that trace back the existence of that person, this person can’t be dead! As long as there are memories shared at a table, as long as there are conversations about that passed away person, as long as the texts are read and the photographs are watched, as long as the memorizing heart is beating and the missing tears are flooding, you can’t be dead! Isn’t that an amazing idea? How about building a house and making a room for everyone you love, designed with all the things this person is attached to? A room for mother, filled with books and green plants, with mild music and everything she loves. But wait, no, just one room for one person wouldn’t really fit to the existence of that person. This room has to be linked to another room, to the room of somebody this first person is attached to. And how you build this house doesn’t matter, whether it is done in texts or photographs, in paintings, in thoughts, in memories or really built as a small model of a big life. As long as there is a trace of your existence, you can’t be dead! Shakespeare isn’t dead, Wilde isn’t dead, Woolf and Austen are not dead because their works are still read, their biographies are still discussed, their works are still analysed, still read and people talk about them, have discussions, fall in love with them and become fans. How can Shakespeare, Wilde and Woolf be dead when the trace of their existence is still so present and vivid today? Isn’t that what every author is wishing for? Immortality.”
Gina Laventura © 2012