The sounds of silence

Publish date 24-11-2021

by Gian Mario Ricciardi

In the summer of broken certainties, I have chosen many days, here and there, of silence: walking slowly on the mountain paths; sliding (so to speak!) along the walks between town and town by the sea; pruning trees; cleaning hedges.
It was always like diving into another world.

How far were the images of most of us compulsively pressing on mobile phones all the time; the controversy between vaccinated and no vax; the incredible somersaults of politics; the days of the lockdown with the dead, sirens and fear; the useless "appearances" of stars and presumed such on social media and gossip newspapers.
So, alone and without a watch, I heard the "sounds of silence": the waves of the sea in Cogoleto in a beautiful house of the Carmelite nuns of Saint Teresa who, despite the splendid location, work and pray with smiles of transverse and contagious serenity ; to the Colle della Fauniera, above Castelmagno and the hill of the mule where a monument to Pantani who passed there with the tour of Italy, leaves the mystery of the end of the sample intact; in Murazzano where goat milk meets "good and healthy" food; in the garden of the house to watch a tomato grow day by day; in sanctuaries such as Fontanelle di Boves, Superga, Madonna dei Fiori in Bra, Forno di Coazze.

It was nice. I understood the richness of silence, the choices of the desert of saints like Charles De Foucault, the charm of monasteries, the power of silence, the genius of thinking. And I found myself a child in the middle of a midsummer dream. The sun is shining high. All around the scents of the woods that chase you, besiege you, inebriate you: gently. It has been like this since the time of the Romans, an enchanted corner. The dirt road climbs up wearily. Beyond the hill opens the natural and unrepeatable scenery of the fortresses, the rocky mountains of Italy. They are in the hills of the left Tanaro in Piedmont. Land for a break. And, every walk is a dip between the certainties of yesterday and the luxuriant renewal of nature.
In the sovereign shadow, the riches of the unexplored undergrowth: between ferns and blueberries, lilies of the valley and narcissus. There is the orchid and a soft dreamlike atmosphere. Full immersion in Pope Francis 'Laudato si'.

I walk and I feel the storm forming: the clouds melt, divide, pile up; the wind seems bad and threatening, an unreal silence and light fill this corner of the world. Here, the first drops and that smell of "wet dust". Birds seek shelter like dogs, cats and all animals.
It is then that noises emerge, one by one, that I have not heard for years: the fragile rustling of leaves, the creaking of the trees, the water running along the dirt road. I begin to understand the long and often empty conversations on TV in these two years of pandemic; I see as in a flashback the hypotheses of governments, presidents of the Republic and of the Council, majorities of all kinds and I realize how many fakes news stain our lives every moment. So much so that in the end we no longer know where the good and the bad, the right and the unjust, the rich and the poor are. Of course they have been lived dangerously for two years and who knows how long we will have to fight: not against who knows what wants to change world geopolitics, against the pandemic, against the too often theatricality of the sacred. We seek authenticity and truth.

And then, immersed in the sea of ​​chatter, from time to time the sounds of silence are the right way, the true one: to listen to us, the others, those who think differently from us, without anger, hatred, fury, even those who they ask for help, inside and outside of us and at home.
To listen! Listening is the way out. And, for me, even prayer!

Gian Mario Ricciardi
NP August / September 2021

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