I went back to look at the stars

Publish date 22-07-2021

by Gian Mario Ricciardi

I went back to looking at the stars. I did it in the days of the waning lockdown, hoping to rediscover the lightness of life. Then, in the tired and swollen nights of waiting, I again caught the flows of the earth, the lightness of the breeze, the slight noises of the wind.
Thus, simply in the movement of the lights and shadows, I glimpsed the silent tremors and the tearful suffering of those who have lost, unhealthy guests in hospitals, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters. And I cried with them, for them. So many times: with each star setting and the flickering of the wind.

I imagined doctors and nurses who were good, honest, with their hearts at home next to their children in dad and fathers, mothers, in-laws in trepidation and their hands next to the sick. But in this crowd of faces that surrounded me, there were also, in the slow flow of this annus horribilis many (really many) who wasted time, did not procure (or hurt with poorly written contracts) the vaccines, filled of perfect protocols, perhaps the best in the world, but inapplicable, caused by the slow and endless lines of patients in hospitals, clinics, RSAs. And I cried again. I do it often: it will be age.

Then, at midnight, when the wind dulls its strength, the sun has long since gone into the sunset of these days so unreal but beautiful, I felt the presence of those who gave their heart and often also their life to cushion first, then stop the emergency, soothe the fear, shorten the wait for the new season of life that will involve everyone.
Then, only then, did I begin to hope again. Of course it was and is a hope without illusions or blinders. A slight, serious, conscious, even problematic hope. I have seen the tangible acceleration of vaccinations. I rolled my eyes. Yes, I saw the stars in the long crossing that continues perhaps less bitter. With them I caught the birth of a new feeling.

Little by little, my brother killed by Covid, the most beloved saints, the Pope of my life, St. John Paul II, many people who, in silence and discretion, brick by brick, are building the new "city of God and men ". I imagined them on the water of the sea, in the waves before a beastly storm and now finally lighter and calmer. I looked up. The waterfront was deserted, the streets empty, the premises still closed, very few lights. It was, in fact, the scenario of a very long, interminable, no longer bearable lockdown. And here, immediately after, our world: people who go, people who are vaccinated, armored, in front of a cursed enemy who, unfortunately, will remain next to us for a long time. And I felt the strong taste of hope and light. It had been a long time since I had looked at others like this, their eyes, hands, outlines, edges, stretch marks. I understood that that evening there was someone with me by the sea: there was a light that shone far away: it was God, it was faith. A faith wounded by too many dead alone in our skies, by so much bitterness, the result of sometimes guilty envy of loved ones who betrayed us, of our and others' depressions and mistakes in this long "dark forest".

But, beyond this blanket of imagination and experience, there was the purity of the rediscovered feelings, the power of the breath of almost normal days, the thread of the future, the desire to go back to planning the future. Of course, I know, this is a mid-spring dream, a dream full of naivety but with a vein of truth and a desire for rebirth that, I am sure, will gradually bring about "a new beginning" for everyone.

Gian Mario Ricciardi
NP april 2021

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