September is my favorite month for a reason. And not only because that’s when I was born. September whispers “transition” to me. Its smooth, it rarely comes in full force, its just the little hints you notice – a fallen leaf here and there, sunrises and sunsets get more of that golden tint, and one morning you wake up and you wish you’ve closed the window last night.
“Why do we feel sorry for people who can’t travel?
Because, unable to expand externally, they are not able to expand internally either, they can’t multiply
and so they are deprived of the possibility of undertaking expansive excursions in themselves
and discovering who and what else they could have become.”― Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
Yesterday I found myself in a group of strangers (predominantly Italians) somewhere in Berlin. And as it always happens to me, after couple minutes of “what do you do?” kind of questions somebody mentioned living all around the world.
When that person started throwing the names of cities at me I smiled, sipped my wine, and thought, how cool.
And I told myself – apparently I’m not all that well-traveled as I like to think of myself. I’ve been to some pretty cool places over he last couple years, and still I often feel like nothing can impress me anymore. I keep comparing cities, cathedrals, mountains, seas, you name it.
And when that comparison settles down in my mind, I see something I’ve never seen before. It brings so much hope to get a reassurance that there’s still much more to this Earth. Syri i Kalter (the Blue Eye – albanian) in the south of Albania was one of those places that proved me wrong.
Its one of those “what ifs” that are so easy to find out.
Its really not that big of a deal – get your plane ticket and move south. Choose the place where it never snows and the lowest yearly temperature is 20 C. Viola. Summer never ends.
But summer is so much more than shorts, swimsuits and hot nights.
Its the state of mind.
And while some say things like “August feels like Sunday evening” I say, summer truly never ends when its inside of you. No matter that you have to wrap yourself in a blanket to stay warm on a chilly August night.
Oh those hours before sunset. You feel your hair swinging with the salty winds and your feet covered in the dust of civilizations, washed thoroughly by the waves. You adore the ocean, this bundle of strength an energy that goes as far as you can see. You are looking at Italy on the other side. You cannot see it, but you know its there, miles and miles away.
In Albania, the sun just falls behind the sea, almost as fast, as the orange you dropped. The colors fade away and darkness embraces you in a matter of mere minutes.
There’s peace in darkness, in faraway lights and the breath of the sea.
Peace, that I’ve been craving for a while.
Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been
the most beautiful words in the English language. – Henry James
As for me, the third most beautiful word is a margarita.
and the fourth is Budapest.
I realized that its summer only that night in mid-July, in a bar on the top of the
world Budapest. And so what, that the first half of calendar summer is already gone. For all I care, I can celebrate summer till Christmas. Or while I can still find a watermelon or sit outside while drinking my coffee.
“NOBREZA SILENCIOSA. SILENT NOBILITY.
It is a mistake to believe that the crucial moments of a life when its habitual direction changes forever must be loud and shrill dramatics, washed away by fierce internal surges.
This is a kitschy fairy tale started by boozing journalists, flashbulb-seeking filmmakers and authors whose minds look like tabloids. In truth, the dramatics of a life-determining experience are often unbelievably soft.
It has so little akin to the bang, the flash, of the volcanic eruption that, at the moment it is made, the experience is often not even noticed.
When it deploys its revolutionary effect and plunges a life into a brand-new light giving it a brand-new melody, it does that silently and in this wonderful silence resides its special nobility.”
— Pascal Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon)
Amen to this.
“I wanted a perfect ending.
Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.” — Gilda Radner
It is indeed about not knowing. The sun comes out when you give up on waiting for it.
So I stood on the bridge, in awe, and couldn’t remember a time when I felt so small and insignificant.
Was that on the rocks of Patrick’s Point in North Cali or was that feeling the power of Atlantic storming the Nantucket surfside beach? Was that among the woods and rocks of Balaklava on the coast of Crimea or was that among the crowds on the crossing of 46th and Broadway in New York? Was that when the Elbe flooded half of the city last June or..
And then it hit me. Just like once I learned that I don’t need to capture every beautiful view I see, in a fraction of a second I realized that I don’t need to compare the experiences I have to the ones I had. I found myself obsessing with the ratings when what I really should have been doing was absorbing the magnificence of creation around me.