Publish date 14-01-2023
When I was a child and then a boy, for many years, a swallow arriving in Piedmont would come and make its nest above the door of the house where I lived. Some time later it was nice to see the chicks appear, just hatched, and then start trying to take off for their first flights. Then everyone left… See you next year!
We haven't seen them again for a year and we were amazed and wanted to know what had happened. They had destroyed the nest because the swallows littered the sidewalk in front of the entrance. Sure, it was very true, and, of course, uncomfortable. But it was a pity to no longer see the swallow arrive and admire the swallows. In our lives we are always confronted with these guests, not always comfortable, but whose beauty, goodness and usefulness we must learn to discover. We can look down and see the dirt, but we can rather look up and enjoy the swallows and their wonderful flights.
As a child I was told that swallows are useful because they eat parasitic insects of crops (even the little appreciated and certainly less beautiful bats eat mosquitoes!).
These new guests, who knock on our doors, who sometimes litter our sidewalks could also be useful because they eat the insects of our cultures and bring us something more genuine, healthier, new and less tired. Saint Salviano of Marseilles, at a time when barbarians were breaking through the borders of the Roman Empire, while everyone wept and despaired, shouted with joy: "Finally someone is coming to correct our decadent customs!".
We need someone to shake us up and tell us that our so-called conquests aren't exactly a marvel and that perhaps we need to go back to human values, which were once ours, and put the economic values, those of well-being and a false freedom that hurts us. We are happy? When there were swallows on the door we lived with a lightness, in a good way, which today no longer seems to dominate. We let ourselves be worried about many things and when, comfortably seated on our thrones, we see an earthquake shaking our buildings, we seem to be poor victims.
Covid, war and even the heat have shaken our security.
Of course we suffer. But in suffering, or at least in certain sufferings, one can sing. Bella ciao was born in the rice fields full of mosquitoes and was found in times certainly more difficult than ours, of the partisan war. Of course I don't want to be one of those who praise the past. The golden age never existed and my first memories are the bombings and the destroyed city of Turin; but I think we must be careful not to lose the simplicity that could exist in times when we were forced to enjoy small and imperfect things and not get stuck on the apparent perfection of things, forgetting the essential.
There are different ways of looking at the events of history and, if we don't know how to discover something positive in the new and we only cry over the change and the loss of some things on which we are comfortably seated, but which are perhaps volcanoes that can erupt… «Don't you never know» the Little Prince would say, we will spend our lives gripped by fear and tired in fighting against.
Why not look at the novelty applying ourselves to let it enter our lives as something that completes it, stimulates it, rejuvenates it and brings positive elements? And what is negative is corrected, as we always try to correct what we ourselves do wrong. History is in the hands of the Lord; if we don't mess with his work with our hard hearts, we will find that he has always been doing beautiful things.
NP October 2022