LIFE BEYOND TOURISM BLOG

August 28, 2008

The Zahir – Part three

Dear travellers,

Here is a last significant passage from the book The Zahir:

[…] I saw the endless steppes, which, although they appeared to be nothing but desert, were, in fact, full of life, full of creatures hidden in the low scrub. I saw the flat horizon, the vast empty space, heard the sound of horses’ hooves, the quiet wind, and then, all around us, nothing, absolutely nothing. It was as if the world had chosen this place to display, at once, its vastness, simplicity and complexity. It was as if we could – and should – become like the steppes, empty, infinite and, at the same time, full of life.

I looked up at the blue sky, took off my dark glasses, and allowed myself to be filled by that light, by the feeling of being simultaneously nowhere and everywhere. We rode on in silence, stopping now and then to let the horses drink from streams that only someone who knew the place would have been able to find. Occasionally, we would see other horsemen in the distance or shepherds with their flocks, framed by the plain and by the sky.

Where was I going? I hadn’t the slightest idea and I didn’t care. […]

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[…] Così vidi la steppa sconfinata: sembrava un deserto, ma pullulava di vita, nascosta nella vegetazione strisciante. Vidi la linea pianeggiante dell’orizzonte, il gigantesco spazio vuoto; udii il rumore degli zoccoli dei cavalli e quello del vento calmo – e nulla, assolutamente nulla, tutt’intorno. Come se il mondo avesse scelto quel luogo per mostrare la sua immensità e, insieme, la sua complessità. Come se noi potessimo – e dovessimo – essere una rappresentazione della steppa: vuoti, infiniti e, nel contempo, pieni di vita.

Guardai il cielo azzurro. Mi tolsi gli occhiali scuri, mi lasciai inondare dalla luce, dalla sensazione di non trovarmi in nessun luogo e, nello stesso momento, in ogni luogo. Cavalcammo in silenzio, fermandoci soltanto per abbeverare i cavalli presso alcuni rivoli, che solo chi conosceva perfettamente il posto sapeva individuare. Ogni tanto, in lontananza si stagliavano altri cavalieri, pastori con le loro greggi, incorniciati dalla pianura e dal cielo.

Dove stavo andando? Non ne avevo affatto idea, né mi interessava saperlo. […]

 

 

What do you think about this way of feeling places? Have you ever experienced something similar?

Tell us about your vision of travel. Is it similar to the vision of the protagonist of the book?

LBT

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