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a cool jazz and Eduardo Galeano kind of Sunday night…

October 5, 2014

Footprints:

             A couple was walking across the savannah in East Africa in the beginning of the rainy season. The woman and the man still looked a lot like apes, truth be told, although they were standing upright and had no tails.

            A nearby volcano, now called Sadiman, was belching ash. The rain of ash preserved the couple’s footprints, from that moment through time. Beneath their grey blanket, the tracks remained intact. Those footprints show this Eve and that Adam had been walking side by side; at a certain point she stopped, turned away, and took a few steps of her own. Then she returned to the path they shared.

            The world’s oldest human footprints left traces of doubt. A few years have gone by. The doubt remains.

The Voyage:

             Oriol Vall, who works with newborns at a hospital in Barcelona, says that the first human gesture is the embrace. After coming into the world, at the beginning of their days, babies wave their arms as if seeking someone.

            Other doctors, who work with people who have already lived their lives, say that the aged, at the end of their days, die trying to raise their arms.

            And that’s it, that’s all, no matter how hard we strive or how many words we pile on. Everything comes down to this: between two flutterings, with no more explanation, the voyage occurs.

Grandmother:

            When Miriam Miguez looks at a mountain, she wishes she could pass through it with her gaze and come out on the other side of the world. When she looks at her childhood, she wishes she could pass through all the years and come on the other side of time.

            In her house in Cordoba, Grandmother kept a few boxes hidden away. Sometimes, when Miriam and she were alone and there was no danger that anyone might walk in, Grandmother would crack open her treasure chests and let her grandchild see inside.

            Those sequins tiny medals, bird feathers, old keys, knitting needles, colored ribbons, dry leaves, and magazine clippings looked like mere things, but the two of them knew they were much more than things.

            When Grandmother died, it all disappeared, perhaps burned or put out in the trash.

            Now Miriam has secret boxes of her own. Sometimes she opens them.

Wind:

             The morning Diego Lopez turned four, joy was leaping in his breast, a flea jumping on a frog hopping on a kangaroo bouncing on a pogo stick, while the streets flew on the wind and wind battered the windows. Diego hugged his grandma Gloria and whispered a secret order in her ear: “We’re going into the wind.”

            And he pulled her from the house.

Sun:

Somewhere in Pennsylvania, Anne Merak works as an assistant to the sun.

            She’s been in that line of work for as long as she can recall. At the end of every night, Anne raises her arms and pushes the sun up into the sky. Lowering her arms at day’s end she puts the sun down to bed on the horizon.

            She was very small when she started this job, and she’s never missed a shift.

            Half a century ago, she was declared insane. Since then Anne has gone through several institutions, been treated by numerous psychiatrists, and swallowed innumerable pills.

            They never managed to cure her.

            Thank heavens.

                                                                                Voices in Time, Eduardo Galeano, 2006

 

 

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