Thursday, 17 February 2011

Yet again the north

I started my journey back home, which yet again takes me north, as if this was always and in the end my final destination. Drawn by the polar magnetism, I trail more kilometers or black tar which I consume as an unconditional addict, a devourer of diverse paths and directions which I insist in making my own in a constant and endless journey. Heading towards Portugal I end up finding it too soon, in a ‘Portuguese city’ which is no more than a lost nostalgia I discover without any sorrow or regret. I wander its ancient streets but only for a short while, leaving rapidly the walls that contain them in search of what brought me here after all, those who live here, who welcome me while wondering what brought me to this place. Less used to tourists, I find them maybe friendlier than elsewhere, being maybe more curious of who I am rather than of what I bring with me, as the occasional traveler is not essential to their survival, being a mere stranger. Eventually I leave El Jadida behind, letting my voracious appetite for moving forward take control, after all I have a sort of set date to return and the time to wander around is a scarce asset. Maybe because of that I touch only lightly the enormous Casablanca, a city that repels me while attracting me in its cosmopolitanism, a trait I didn't run into lately. Wandering around, however, I find nothing but the will to move on, of getting closer to the strait that separates my own land from this one, the strait which will eventually bring me back to ‘my world’. But before reaching it I stop one last time, finding retreat in the suspended blue of the mountainous Chefchaouen, which makes me start travelling again, slowly, invaded by the laziness of strolling up and down its streets, of meeting new brothers of destiny, of just resting from the racing-around I’ve been doing in the last few days. But soon the calendar points the way and makes me move my feet, this time towards the strait’s margin, that frontier limiting the illusion of many, the canal of so many wars, so many journeys, so many centuries-old dreams which I observe from a distance, contemplative, questioning so many things, so many uncertain certainties, so much water, too much border, too many people surrounding me in the bubbly Tangier which tries to sell me everything I don’t need, because what I need cannot be sold, only lived, because what I live cannot be sold, only savored. The bitter-sweet taste of this journey coming to an end makes me nostalgic, of here and home, lost in a limbo that does not exist, as this canal, an illusion transformed in difference, a division made of water and stupidity, imaginary line where so many try to balance themselves and where I now wander while waiting for my ride to my side of the world. Taking only a step I cross the canal, even though he tries to prevent my crossing, in an attempt to chain me to this primordial continent, land where I meet my own self, where I reinvigorate myself, where I at the same time feel disgusted with so many differences, so many errors from the past, with so many mistakes from the present, all heritage of a history that keeps haunting me. The huge waves seem to sink me in the canal, showing it is not an easy task to cross it. As so many others I must pay my toll, even if only in the price of a light seasickness, even if only in the price of a lost thought, lucky in any case not to have to pay with my own life as many others who are simply fighting for their right to dream, as I do, dreaming a life that does not exist and making it real step by step. Unlike many others I luckily am to able to dream, taste this freedom I live in, and that’s all I wanted everyone to experience, without any exception, but my power is so limited, I feel barely capable of unrolling my own road, that same road which is now rocking me to sleep already on my side of the strait, the original trail where everything started and which eventually brings me to a path I use to walk home, feeling my backpack go weightless as my bed is so near and that warm homely embrace is only a smile away to remember me that returning home is after all part of the journey. Deep inside, however, I know this is not my home anymore, that I belong to nowhere, that the road is my address, even when I’m not wandering it, even if some day I lose my strengths and can only travel the roads of my memories and of those of others. I belong to nowhere, but the whole world is mine and I will not stop discovering it while there is a span of road to overcome, a new stage to run, an unknown path to unravel, a new dream to be turned into reality. Despite knowing I will stop for a while now, I do it conscious that resting is just the beginning, the dawn of a new day which at some point will make me travel again, whatever direction I may take, whatever destination I may be bound for.

Somewhere between the Strait of Gibraltar and Loulé, December 2010

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