The legs are struggling while I’m going uphill, but they know the way. The muscles harden more and more but they will resist. Short breath, crazy heartbeat, the altitude starts to make me feel sick. There could be a thousand excuses, a thousand reasons to stop and go back, down to the valley, but I chose my destination and nothing can stop me now A little bit more, I hold on. The last effort and behind that pass I’ll be there.
Here it is! My enchanted valley, immaculate in its eternal beauty. The massive mountains surround me and enclose me like in a warm hug to greet my return. I've been here a thousand times and still this place can surprise me and makes me thrill like a baby. For an instant I'm feeling lost in a moment I have experienced other times and that seems to be suspended over time. What has changed since that time, 30 years ago, when by chance I found this remote and hidden corner? Only me, not this place, not these mountains, dozed giants, which guard and protect the secret of eternal youth and the meaning of infinity they enclose. I am here again, in this corner of the world, for me as heaven on earth in my conception of life: my paradise, my promised land, or perhaps, the only place I can really call “Home”, when this is something more than just four walls and a fireplace.
Today I finally come back where I should be, even if this is just an idea, pure utopia: the feeling of belonging to something immense that yet manages to settle itself in my little heart. And so the mountains are the guardians of my secrets and of my years far away from here, if here I always came back, as a prodigal son, as in a pilgrimage for a religion which goes beyond any prayers and doctrines I learned. An impossible love that still affects the beats of my heart. It is the love that makes me come back, it is the need to find this place unchanged as still in time. It is the coming back to find that the mountains are still here, solid and powerful against a world that is quickly advancing, destroying and denying itself. I forget about all the effort, I forget the “normal” life, the grey in the city, the flat horizons where I am forced and dropped.
Now my eyes can spin around, retracing those profiles so many times caressed to learn them by memory so that I could recover them in my moments of need. I enjoy the silence and the loneliness. Everything is perfect, the most beautiful of paintings painted by some divine hand. I can breathe the perfection, I can inhale the magic that these places can create in my soul, in my most remote fantasies. As every time I leave my thoughts free to wander infinitely among these mighty walls all around me. And here I find again the questions of a lifetime, the hidden secrets the mountains only know, my poems and the verses that this place whispered to me. I lay on the ground and let this place slip inside me. I feel the inexhaustible beat of Nature, the Mountain's energy flows toward me to regenerate and give me the strength to move forward when I’ll be far from here.
The time goes slow but inexorable while enjoying the ecstasy of living the moment. The few moments in my life I’ve been here can now become eternity if year after year I can here feel the same emotions, gathering the feeling that everything passes by, but maybe nothing really changes. At least not this place, maybe just me, more grey in the hair, but with the inner child's soul as many years ago. I feel easy and I reach the well being as I was looking for and expected because source and reason of my life. That inexhaustible source of a harmony and balance that I finally reached: now I'm home and I'll be even far away from here if I carry this and other important places in my heart, and the poetry they can give me which I keep jealous within me. I let go the time, which here stops and still runs fast. Soon I will have to leave this place again, to come back to love it from far, from my grey city, from a flat land always to even. I just came back and yet I have to leave, greeting these mountains, as friends, mothers and sisters, who I will not see for so long, but that I always carry inside me. Reality and dream here merge together and become my utopia of life, something impossible as all the unanswered questions.
But it doesn’t matter: love does not want and does not seek explanations and true love, perhaps, does not even pretend to be reciprocated if it still gives wonderful emotions to who loves. The important thing is to feel good, to feel reborn, every time like the first one. I wait a while before going down to the valley. I prepare the farewell immortalising in my eyes this heaven again.
The Mountains in front of me, virgin and straight, still close around me in a majestic and reassuring embrace. Below the cradle of woods and silence, alpine meadows and perfumes. The verdant and shining valley, and my little steps back under these rosy rocks framed in a shining sky at sunset. Once again a day becomes an indelible fragment in my life. I go away again, leaving no trace visible but leaving here an important moment that I already know, I will return one day to resume. Because a moment, one day, can remain eternal like these imposing bastions. Because few moments in a man's life rise and become immortal.
And then, as in this place, time does not matter and it does not spell. Nothing has changed here, nothing really changed in me. Maybe only my age, not my memories, not my returns.