estimated reading time: 3 minutes
It was an ordinary spring day in San Servolo. As he used to do every single day, Giacomo was slowly walking from his room to the café, yearning for his usual after-lunch cup of coffee. Absently looking at the shy buds that peeped from the yawning trees, he suddenly realised that everything around him was slowly waking up from its winter slumber. Soon, the whole island would have been covered in the scent of flowers, drown in a green sea of grass and trees.
The thought didn’t amaze him that much. I mean, that’s just how things go, it’s nothing special. And to be honest, his life would have just gone on as usual. Mother Nature could wake up whenever she felt like, he didn’t really care. They weren’t the same, he never went to sleep at all.
There was just one thing he kept on waiting for every year: the blossoming of the bush of wisteria in front of the reception. While the blooming of everything else on the island was to him more or less a given, for some reason that wisteria bush made him feel anxious all the time. He was stupidly afraid that, one day, something would have deprived him of those purple waterfalls of petals. That single thought made him shiver every time.
A familiar scent woke him up from his thoughts. Without realising it, he had got extremely close to the bush he was daydreaming of. It was in full bloom. That day, wisteria was suspiciously inviting. It was as if it was calling him, as if it was asking him to get into it.
His mind froze. His body started to move on its own.
Scratches on his arms.
Next thing he knew, he was surrounded by a darkness only occasionally pierced by sunbeams. The perfume of wisteria, penetrating his skin, made his limbs numb, his vision blurry. For a split second, he almost fell in the darkness of his mind. Then, suddenly, his senses heightened in an adrenaline rush. He was no longer in the bush of wisteria. Well, physically speaking, he was. But his mind, his perception, were one with the branches around him, his fingertips purple petals. Bathing under the May sun, he could ride those very sunbeams and land on the trees, explore the veins of those wooden bodies and then dive in the lagoon.
He wasn’t just imagining. It wasn’t just a mental state, nor were his sense merely heightened by nature. He was nature itself. He was air, leaves, waves crashing into the shore of Venice. He was the seaweed floating under the black mud puked by boats, he was the choking lung getting cut and burnt, he was fresh breeze turned black by smokes. He was in pain, yes, but he also felt complete. That was more than a simple symbiosis, mystical as it may be. It was discovering what to him seemed like an ultimate truth: “I am you, you are me”. A small sparkle burst into his chest.
We are the same. Humans and nature are not two different entities, two enemies fighting for dominance. What lies within is the same essence. Call it divine sparkle, call it however you want. In the end, we are part of the same whole.
It all became clear to Giacomo in a second and, when he came back to his body, a new light was shining inside him. When he left the bushes he knew that he wasn’t alone anymore.
He was part of a whole.