di Marina Agostinacchio traduzione Carla Sordina
“Water is really a calm roller that matches with my walk in this sunny day along the riviera”.
I was thinking and I was walking on dead leaves, among broken roots and wet soil.
I was walking and thinking about my age, now no longer young, swinging on a body made of the rings proper to my species, multiplied by the sedimentation layers where the resilient memory, – the most remarkable things and the things stored on the bottom – prevails on the remaining time of my life.
Images, vision, projections of what I used to be and what I am now. Desire…
Maybe memories, flashes of lightning, sudden emersions of hugging, handshaking, kissing, bodies free to express the gesture and the word;
not blindfolded word – not locked down gesture.
Even if we are not young anymore, we can find out that we are raising in ourselves that child who lives the surrounding reality as a magical act, with the enchantment and wonder of a virgin mind; we can feel the urge to investigate with curiosity what is happening around us and inside us.
Some years ago, in Sardinia, after a long walk past inlets, climbing over rocks and steep descents, suddenly a glimpse of the sea appeared before my eyes with its vibrant green colour. I felt the overwhelming urge to soak into the water, I wanted to know the secret that would be revealed provided I had direct contact on my skin. I took off my bathing suit and dived into the water. I believe I had the feeling of a deep union between me and that world of purity and transparency, its crystalline clarity that was imbuing me at that very moment, penetrating me and making me feel crossed by an indescribable joy.
If at each transition from one decade to the next, “the taste of the world changes and modifies individuals in their involvement in life”, it is also true that there is always some exception to the rule.
I wondered if our way of looking at the world depends on how we handle such transitions, on our imaginative wish, on the affective imprint we have received, that is engraved in our memory.
Boris Cyrulnik, in his book De chair e d’âme (Flesh and Soul), says
“Les yeux de mon âme et mon corps n’ont pas un différent langage …” “The eyes of my soul and body don’t have a different language…”
We are made of chemical mental reactions and relationships with our own kind, projections of ourselves towards perfection made of flesh and earth. Needs and desires interface like in a dialogue between dream and reality.
But what is the desire for happiness other than the search for something that fulfills a physical and spiritual need?
It is such a natural emotional drive that can survive over the years, white hair, sagging skin, the ravages of time, in a body “shattered by winds and waves”.
And about this emotional impulse, I remember a tale from A Thousand and One Nights I wanted my mother to read me every night as a child.
The three brothers who are the protagonists of the tale undergo an exceptional challenge: their father will give in marriage a princess to the son who brought him something truly outstanding. On an equal footing, the brothers must face a second challenge, an archery tournament. The youngest brother throws the arrow so far away that he cannot find it any more as a sign of his ability.
He throws his arrow so far away… Those words opened so may doors to me that I asked my mother to repeat them many times while she was reading. The tale continued with the many adventures that would bring the youngest brother greater happiness than his two older brothers.
I think the magic words for me were exactly the words that revolved around the concept of his arrow thrown far away, and never found. The story was thus charged with emotional tension, with questions, with possibility of solutions never attained. It was the mold of an indefinite need, the reflection in a mirror made of sharpened spears breaking and restoring in a temporary composition.
Is it perhaps that – I wonder – I throw and used to throw my arrows too far away ever since I was a little girl?
I have often thought that I had something marked in the right hemisphere of the brain, where imagination and creativity are the reference of my feeling and my acting.
What is certain is that every human being is endowed with its own structure, aspects including body and soul, spirit and psyche, physiological, biological, genetic, chemical, nervous aspects… Within which of these channels does the desire of happiness fluctuate? Or does it fluctuate inside the person as a whole?
If we consider the etymology of the word ‘desire’ – from de- that in Latin has a negative connotation, and sidus, meaning “star” – we come to know the real meaning of the word; it is as if it (the star) were falling: a dead star whose light we cannot see, in its course. Desire could also be a sort of sadness due to the lack of the object of what we love.
Why do we tend to desire? I asked myself. The answer might be into the very structure of our being, made of primary needs and search for meaning. The end is to live in a physical, psychological and mental existential dimension of well-being. Our self-preservation instinct motivates our existence; this is why we make plans, we dream, we elaborate ideas. The mind is the impulse, acting is its hand. Imagination supports them. That’s why I love, I seek the pleasure of knowledge, of what is tactile, visual, auditory, gustative, olfactory … the smells that we women so keenly sense, the trails we walk on heading somewhere.
Over the years not infrequently the desire is extinguished due to the crumbling of the thrust to affective motivation, to the need for ties and love.
The role of imagination is important, because it acts as a bridge between motivation (in ourselves) and need.
If happiness is a never-ending, never reached and never satisfied quest, for its very characteristic of indefiniteness, over time it suggested me to taste it in small sips, in the knowledge that it would not last.