Day 65. In search of silence
"One day, I watched the sun setting forty-four times," you told me. And a little later, you added: "You know ... When one is so terribly sad, one loves sunsets ..."
" The day you watched those forty-four sunsets, were you sad?" I asked.
But the little prince made no reply.
(The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
Friendly meetings in the morning. The gift bearing couple from the evening before passed me again. They seemed to be slower on their bikes than I am on my feet. They go with the flow. They slept in, in a field. We said goodbye again, bis zum nächsten Mal.
Over coffee, when I was planning to write some reports, I talked to a man in the railway cafe. He was walking to the Czech Republic. He told me about a long walk he made in Lapland, where the nights were light, where he slept during the day and walked during the night. Padjelanta. I wrote it down.
It was the first day in a week I didn't notice my hurt leg with every step, it wasn't as hot as the day before, my head was empty and filled itself with new ideas from time to time. I felt light and I decided to spent the rest of the afternoon walking without talking to people.
That wasn't easy.
The first man didn't understand. He had passed me before, I recognised his face. He stepped off his bike, waited until i had finished taking a photo of a field. He started talking. I tried explaining I wasn't talking, without using words, but he thought I was unable to speak. When I told him I wasn't talking today, he started asking questions. I repeated my words, said it was a day to be silent. He asked if I couldn't speak just a little bit. I told him the road had been long and full, today no words. He thought he understood. He said "Yes, I understand, you are "kaput", broken." But I wasn't. Even with a soar leg I was more whole than ever. That is why I wanted to be silent. To realise that. But I didn't want to explain. I waved and walked on.
Half an hour later a man passed on his motorbike. He stopped, drove back, stopped next to me. "Today I don't talk," I said. "I've been on the road so long and talked so much, today I need to be silent." He said he understood. He said he just wanted to watch. Again I was in the middle of
photographing something and for the next few minutes he just stood there and stared at my cart and
me. I felt uncomfortable. I waved and walked on.
It is difficult to be silent amongst people. And I also found it difficult not to respond to people who want to know about what I am doing. They are my audience and I feel a responsibility towards them. But I need a break from time to time and I could look for a place without people and sit still, hide, but usually the break is in the walking. The walking clears my head, gives me piece of mind. On my resting days I talk, I embroider, I write. In the evenings I take care of my body, my tent, my laundry. When I walk I rest.
After a third unsuccessfull non-meeting I needed a break from trying to be silent and I found a lonely silent spot along the Danube bank, I built another fridge for a bottle of beer -another gift from the gift-bearing couple-, washed my cloths, swam, prepared some food. That is when two mothers with their two kids arrived. There were 1000 places where they could have installed themselves, I had made sure to skip the spots close to the biketrail, the long danube bank was empty as far as I could see. They seated themselves two meters from my right and started talking loudly.
I packed and moved. Building a one beer bottle fridge in a river is easy. Finding new silence is easy
too. The Danube made some noise but that was ok. I read Saint Exupéry's "The little Prince".
I stayed until eight, left before the sun set. I never see the sun set during my walk. I walk east every day.
I sometimes see the moon rise though. I did today. A full moon, glorious in a clear sky. Far away I
saw some lightning. I walked in the moonlight. Silent. I wondered if I should walk all night.
Posted by monique besten at 09:16