Friday, June 27, 2014

A Traveller's Note

Motto: Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.Lao Tzu

About one and a half hour away from the polluted, noisy and traffic-jammed Bucharest you can take a deep breath of fresh (not squeezed...) forest air. The sky has a more intense blue, the Sun is burning more efficiently and broken clouds look lighter when you look at them from the mountains. At night more stars are shining in the clear sky and also storms are more spectacular, with lightening and thunder definitely more impressive than back in the crowded city.

It was raining a lot in Bucharest in the past couple of months and the specific smell has triggered in me some serious mountain nostalgia.

I remember from my childhood that there were 1-day excursions organised by the school. Other times we would go for longer times, during summer, spring or winter camps. Every time it seemed like an adventure, with attached emotions and fears. My biggest fear was the one of not being sportive enough compared to other kids. I was striving to minimize the probability of either being left behind or delay everyone climbing the mountain. Later on I developed another concern, connected to associating proper clothing and the right shoes ... to be honest, this did not go away with age ...

Years have passed and the pattern of my trips to the mountains have changed. Getting to the same childhood destinations nowadays has to do more with a set of wheels and a pair of sunglasses. But the specific smell of the fresh air still reminds me of the school teacher, telling us children to empty our lungs of residual air and fill them with clean forest one.

The grass usually invites either bare-foot walking or plain sleeping on . The scenery always brings big stupid smiles on my face. I drift towards another distant memory, in a place close to Vienna, back in 2009. A car and then a funicular, took us in less than 1 hour somewhere higher than 1000 meters for sure ... We set then a reasonable destination target for light walking. It was not supposed to be a huge climb, it looked quite ambitious only compared to the passivity of the last years - it was supposed to last for about one and a half hour. So we started enthusiastically... After about 20 mins, our path reached a nice mountain cottage. The Sun was smiling at us, the food looked quite inviting, we were already tired (!), so we decided to have a rest ... I took a blanket to lay down on the grass away from my friends, just for a couple of minutes... Then I turned on a side, covered myself a little better, got warm and relaxed and ... when I opened my eyes again, I felt strangely well rested... my friends told me they did not have the heart to wake me up ... for about one hour!...

I felt like doing this again today, but had a plane to catch... I know however that I will have a good night's sleep, with a smile on my face, grateful for another beautiful day, because ... my hand took a dive in the cold water of a small mountain creek, my lung took deep breaths in fresh humid forest air, my face felt the warmth of a loving Sun, my eyes looked up to the Caraiman cross and then all around to the mystic mix of shades of green and grey on the mountains surrounding it; then my whole heart enjoyed a show of light and shadow mixing through some fluffy clouds. Later in the evening my entire body was lifted above the clouds and I witnessed once more an incredible sunset from the airplane. And before going to bed, I went out to enjoy the beautiful night vision of Karlskirche, mirrored in the calmness of a small pond in the middle of Vienna.

All those above crossed my path within one day... It made me realize how important it is to remember to daydream while carrying on our tiny life. To acknowledge that all the beautiful things in the world are there for a myriad of reasons, among which filling the eyes of hasty travelers with beauty and their hearts with gratitude - just for being alive!

Good night!