I am facing backwards, being thrown forward, fixed. The smaller, closer details are just whipping blurs, but the red mountains and the black factories. The power lines stretching over the under-used farms: They stand still long enough.
The ocean is something else entirely.
I’ve been on trains most days this week, again today. I’m going to the south, to Calabria, to the instep of the boot, to a minor city on the coast. There I’ll be by the water to eat fish and hot peppers, go up in the mountains, go down between the monolithic concrete pillars that support the autostrade soaring stuck above. As with much of my time away from whatever’s home at the time, the occasion for my going is a person I just met, a near-stranger who says, I want to show you this place I’m from, I want to show you all that is here as opposed to elsewhere. And I’m learning quickly to never say no to this, to become more iron and less intending flesh, more susceptible to magnets of hospitality and not knowing, of contingent encounters that have nothing to do with what we plan or don’t plan to do.
Desire is the petty show of resistance we put up in the face of plans made for us, curving tracks on which we are yanked ahead…
Excerpts (On staying still and moving along) Roman Letters, Evan Calder Williams Oslo Editions 2012
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