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Quarantine Journeys: Leoni pigri, Bushman e l’immensità

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Quarantine Journeys: Leoni pigri, Bushman e l’immensità

There's a time for everything. A time for black, which then gives space to colour. Absence and essence. Freeing up from the superfluous, filling in with immensity.

For our series of quarantine journeys, here is a repost from our journey to Kenya! - by Marianna Beltrami

After careful and deep reflections, I established that lions are essentially deadbeats. Slackers. They chill in the bushes, face-up, rolling over and over and over while some curious jeep stops by to check if anything happens. But dear hopeful readers, nothing really happens. Lions don't get up. Our jeep nearly fell into the pit right in front of them. With us inside by the way, but the point is that the lazy ones didn't move.

Do you get what I mean? You go on a journey to the wild savannah and you're ready to see Simba at Pride Rock, all roaring and proud, with his mane in the wind. But he is chilling in the bushes. Face-up.

Anyways, we can't really complain. Besides the leonine disappointment, the savannah is the most extraordinary space you will ever find. Immense spaces, colours, but most of all silence. Of a really surreal sort. The jeep goes on and on, and you can imagine the noise a ten-seat jeep makes when it goes on and on. In the meantime Steve, our Bushman, talks about animals, of his experiences as a journalist, of the complex border between the Masai Mara Game Reserve (where we are now), Kenya, and the Serengeti, Tanzania. There, that's how we drive in our jeep, admiring the spaces surrounding us. And being well aware that we are not separate from anything. We are part of everything; everything is a part of us. With the noise of the car on the dirt roads as a soundtrack, Steve stops. He always stops for a reason, and the reason is always great. A cheetah hiding in the tall grass. A bunch of elephants moving silently. A vast prairie with thousands of animals. Steve stops, pulls the handbrake, and turns off the car. And there, silence. That's when I realised something. That we haven't understood anything about silence, until we realise this - that we haven't understood anything about silence. Imagine. This wide space with thousands of animals. There are (too many) zebras, (funny) buffalos, (unattractive) gnus, warthogs, giraffes, and elephants - mind you, elephants. There. All is silent. You can hear the wind. A silent noise of grass moving. That's it. Nothing more. I swear! A surreal, wonderful silence, one that fills your heart. That's when I realised something (again). That there is no distinction, that we all act together in this three-dimensional space, in which we don't walk on a horizontal line but within a sphere. Where everything is a back-and-forth of relationships, encounters, silences and non-silences. There is a time for everything - a biblical and ancient idea, but I've never perceived it to be so true until now. I breathe in silence. I breathe in essence. And with essence, I think of absence.

Steve gets people. And he knows where he can bring them.

Steve, Bushman, is our guide for this week of filming in Kenya. Steve never has a set path. Steve gets people. And he knows where he can bring them. He got everything about us. He brought us to the Aberdares for two days (we could, we might, be a bit obsessed with Out of Africa. Steve could have, might have, understood that. He brought to same places that could be, might be, part of the film). Then off to Masai Mara, on the border with Tanzania. All the places where we stayed were projects for the community and for environmental safeguard - these are initiatives we deeply care about, and Steve got it! He prepared for us an itinerary made of great spaces and silences, but also some small spaces and conversations. A perfect balance. It's difficult to explain. Anyways, about Steve. Steve is a great driver. He knows every single road in Kenya and where to bring us. On Kenyan roads, I look around and I see colour. I see dirt roads of an intense and strong clay colour. I see the sky being blue as never before. Bright green bushes, lilac Jaracanda trees, and smiles. We should pay more attention to the colour of a smile. The smiles we see here are part of that everything, perceptible as ever. We are together. Smiles are essence. And again, I think of absence.

My life is a trail, and it's a trail made up of essence and absence. Chromatically speaking, absence of colour is black. And that has to be part of my trail. My trail has all the colours, the great spaces, the real filling of the soul that I got with Steve in Kenya. But to think about it, to go back to those feelings, I need to empty out the trail. I need to make it colourless, noisy, and let transcendence fill it. There is a time for everything. A time for black, which then gives space to colour. Absence and essence. Freeing up from the superfluous, filling in with immensity.


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