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The book slips on the knees, the gaze wanders through the landscape, the voices around are fading away. The velocity of the car makes the viscosity of the forest play games with the imagery of the mind. A continuously changing scenario of leaves, branches, trees, brown, green, yellow and gray, a dazzling multitude of views and gradations. As mist envelopes the landscape with a liquidity in which forms and colours fade away, the horizon melts with the sky, as if everything got swallowed by the inside of a cloud. Like one of those late winter afternoons in the hills, when the land covered by snow and the cloudy sky form a continuous body that has no spots, no edges, no curves, no ends, no beginnings. As if life would be happening on the inner surface of the globe of earth and the whole sky had moved inside, a round world of white silence and hidden tales. Closing the eyes suffices to be carried on this white track to somewhere, somewhen. Keeping the eyes closed is the trick that reveals the visited time and space to the mind, the trick that makes seeing possible. 

White. Snow. Hills. A little boy playing at the edge of the village. The feel of the snow on his cold hands, the soft cracking under his feet, the cold evening zephyr on his cheeks and humid lips, the dancing snowflakes dying on his eyelids set the rules of the game. The boy is humming softly at the just born snow creatures, as if whispering them a wordless tale. Stars start glittering on the sky like a reflection of the lights getting sharper in the village down the valley. Village dogs barking their ways around accompany the walk back home. Shoes off, cheeks wiped, the little boy goes sitting on the floor near the low table. From near the fire, the smile of a woman fills the candlelight in the small room with blessings. His mother. The scene gets veiled in the flavours of the rice soup she is cooking.

A young woman holding her son’s hand reaches the temple. The formalities are simple, the boy stays, the woman returns to her village. Fed on the life at the temple, the young boy becomes a young man. He wants to see the world. Holding a letter from the lama in his right hand, he leaves. Few countries far away, an old monk lives in a small, isolated hut. Home. Silence. Humbleness. The old monk never asked for anything, while always listening to what the things around him needed. There was calmness and patience about his being, as he would move around completing his daily rituals and routines with perfection, without superfluous gestures, until his last breath.

Austerity and objects of rite decorate the martial arts temple advised by the old monk. The practice reveals its wisdom as a reward for the diligence towards each action. Celebration. Pilgrims. Demonstration. It was one of the rare days on which the temple opened its doors to laymen. The young man performs. His gaze crosses the face of a woman in the audience. Something about her eyes, her smile reminds him of the winter evenings in the village of his childhood, the rice soup, his mother. He decides to see her.

On the busy streets of the metropole, people with all kind of origins and destinations follow their paths towards something that shows them a next mark. Crossings. Challenge. Change. He stays at a hostel near the central market. It doesn’t take long until he is charged with running the hostel. A woman from a nearby city enters his life in a secret, unexpected way. A story of love and recognition. The memory of the village keeps calling him, as if there was a reason to return.

In the old house everything feels the same. His mother living her last days. Her smile was thanking the universe for having her son listen to her call. He was there with caring presence until her last breath. Not far is the temple where he grew up. Would the monks and lamas still be there? They exchange smiles and salutations, briefly some words. “Is there anything you left unfinished throughout the journey? There is where you need to be”. Return. Village. Return.

The same hostel, the same city, the same work. The woman. As the children grow up, they learn to play with snow in the hills outside the city. In any game everything can and might come together. Time. Departure. Destination. His body falling slowly, surrounded by love. His mind, like the wind, in a flash revisits places and people he crossed through the journey. The image of a small, empty castle shows up.

The Sage: Time... it's not what you think it is.
Is it the key I'm searching for?