The Traveler's Gift

The greatness of his accounts, and the greatness I have forgotten, is that all days begin in uncertainty. There are only roads on maps and the names of places ahead. There may be good weather or bad. There may be food and water along the way, or not. The body may function well or poorly, and the town or city that is the destination will be arrived at in the evening when you cannot go further with the sun. In the town you try to make something happen--to get a bed without paying for it. You try to make friendship and smile so that they will give you food. You may speak their language, but you may not, and if you do not you try other languages or you mix languages and you communicate what you need. The days end either alone and cold and wet and hungry under a tree or in a bus station or a park, or alive and grinning, seated at a table in a warm house with the old woman bringing you more food than you can ever eat, the men encouraging you to drink their wine, the brothers who make the cheese saying you have not had enough, and the sisters smiling back at you across the table-- a little young maybe and it should never happen, but it could, it would be wonderful but no, no, not when you are this tired and their mother has been so kind, and that is not the lasting memory you will leave in the town. But sure, yes, of course, yes, that would be the way to end this day. I can, too, but I will not. And then you sleep well and awaken and with the morning a new road is recommended to you and the uncertainty is returned.

We traveled that way too, once, then.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright © Moraline Free