To be in a place rich with memories is like to travel through time. One step across the stones onto my old concrete patio, with the morning's first rays of the sun shining through the grapevines, I'm instantly transported to years ago, when I first lived in the house. Or, I'm not transported, but I should say rather the time is transported to me, or that the two converge on top of one another. At the same time that I'm looking at a light dappled pavement, I'm also seeing kids in plastic chairs, slouching back, paying some card game for hours on end, slamming down their own card with each earnest intention of victory. One teenager is watching their progress, swinging in the hammock, which is covered by a red fabric, so that the pressure of the ropes is alleviated. And they're gone, and another moment - the same place, just different instance - I'm swinging in the hammock, and it's light again, and I'm trying to read a George R.R. Martin book, Dance With Dragons maybe, and two kittens are clawing at my underside. I give up with a sigh of frustration, reach down and let the two crawl up my arms, where one of them - the black and white, not the orange one - without a breath licks my hands and face over and over again, as if he were actually an overly loving puppy.
Time ebbs and flows. And now that black and white kitten is a large cat, tangling itself at my feet, now looking up at me, and looking on, following my sight, perhaps wondering what I'm seeing, though I wonder if memories hang on such a loose thread of time for my cat as they do for me. The table and plastic chairs are there again, but this time it's my parents sitting in them, and I'm bringing them breakfast - an omelet and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and coffee. When my mom first saw the place where I was living, with the mushrooms growing in the wall, its constant leaks, the low ceiling, the small bedroom smelling of musk, with centipedes always running for cover when the lights were turned on, she cried, "Where is my son living?" And I'm sure it seemed a curious lifestyle for someone with a Master's and who had just begun a life term career with growing success, with a nice apartment in a nice city in a nice country.
I decided to take a walk - literally, one down the side of the river that curved along the side of the village. Large hills rose on both sides of the valley, and on the largest hills were crowned with churches. Between the hills and the river were gently rising slopes, covered in vineyards, with an occasional worker out, even though it was the early morning after Easter, the sun just risen and the day still feeling wet from the dew, humid even, before the sweltering of an early summer day set in. It's still spring at this hour. And I'm jogging. Not now, but then. The land had virtually stayed the same and it was hard to tell what was the past and what was the present and perhaps even, if I were seeing into the future. Across the river, where there were once the ruins of a German lumber mill, now stands a brand new hotel and restaurant, empty except for the grounds keeper. But maybe the ruins are the future and the hotel the past... And a great dog - a Caucasian shepherd, a massive, hairy beast that looked closer to a bear in kin than a canine - rose from its spot behind a bush and declared it its own. I slowed my jog and picked up a rock. Not that a rock can do much to one of those behemoths, but it could send the message that I'm not to be messed with, past my shaking and self doubt and lingering confidence, despite the yelling of my instinct to GTFO, I still had that message made of granite in my hand.
But the dog was no longer there and I wasn't jogging, just walking leisurely. A man on a horse rode past me. He was riding bareback, using a blue tarp as some makeshift reins. He rode to a vineyard, tied up his horse and started his days activities. No dog to be seen. And the sun higher, hotter. It was hotter then, on those early mornings I was jogging and sweating. I had to force myself to keep active, since I lived right next to my work. Always a dangerous thing. We get fat in our physique, but it's also a dangerous thing to get fat in our minds, in our abilities to question. When we begin to accept the lives we are given, we've already died a little. It is always important to rise up and take something, to create something, to destroy something. Each is the other. The creation of a masterpiece is the destruction of an empty canvass, beautiful in its own minimalism, but without its destruction it serves no purpose. And what is the purpose of a masterpiece?