So many echoes of excessive words come from the world and overwhelm my ears, it is time to run away in search of emptiness and silence.
From Arbatax I head north, leaving the coast behind and moving upward to the interior.
Miss Gipiesse, the navigator's pestering voice, has also been silenced, today more than ever I rely on instinct to find a remote place to walk freely.
At the crossroads of Talana I continue straight, I do not know where I will come to, but this is the beauty of it. I am passing through a territory where the oak cork trees are protagonists and along the road I see a tree that seems to open its belly to the birth of an Alien. Yet he doesn't look sick, I stop to watch him closely, the trees never cease to amaze me.
Above, dominated by a rocky mountain, a village. So much abundance in this Ogliastra where at thirty kilometrs from a beautiful coast you can land on another incredible planet with a sharp name: Urzulei.
The town is deserted and dozing in an afternoon nap, I continue until a dirt road that opens towards the mountains. In the void that surrounds me, a gate stands out beside a beautiful plant that I do not recognise. I park while I’m wondering who built a villa in such a lonely place; the garden looks huge and lush, i would like to visit it.
I set off on the dirt road that soon becomes a barely visible path, I climb a stony ground up to a small plane where two trees laden with fruit dominate. The amount of fruit accumulated on the ground around the trunks suggests that no one cares.
What a pleasure to pick the last sugary figs and the first tiny persimmons, still firm but already very sweet. The scenery that surrounds my little solitary Eden is breathtaking, it must be the Supramonte of Urzulei that confronts its peaks with the moving sky on the horizon. The clouds move quickly, the wind blows hard up there, but here calm reigns.
One step after another until the mind is empty, we walk lightly when we open the door to freedom. The anxious echoes of civilization dissolve in the healing energy of nature; now I breathe, I feel life flowing in and around me.
You are right Leonida, when you write: "Learning to feel is the great school of nature" in the letter just arrived from the other side of the world and time. Who can feel more than you, immersed in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
I return to the place where I had parked, a small car is in front of the open gate. I call out several times, a distant, a bit annoyed voice answers, I ask if I can enter.
The garden rises in huge steps towards the top of the hill. The walls hidden by the vegetation support ing the gate are in fact a few metrs long, there is no house in this amazing place.
I walk among plants of all kinds arranged in a beautiful composition; the voice that told me to enter belongs to a man who appears a bit bewildered by my "alien" presence in this place so far from everything.
He holds up a bucket full of tiny apples that he must have just picked up.
We walk together, his name is Mario and it took him thirty years to build his garden. We go through each plant, he tells me the names of those I don't know, they came here from many parts of Sardinia but not only. The quinces are large and ready to be harvested, the beautiful unknown plant next to the gate is called Platina Mora.
We chat about this territory, about life in Urzulei and the mountains all around, that high peak over there is Mount Usulei.
We share the same passion for plants and only instinct could has brought me here, to the small kingdom of a passionate gardener. In the end I realise that I have taken very few photos, too busy observing, but I will come back again, another time.
This is what I tell Mario when we say goodbye.
I leave in search of a place to put my feet on the dashboard and close my eyes for a while.
I reopen them on the rugged landscape of rocks that speaks of the world of shepherds, not far from here three goats look at me with curiosity.
I approach slowly, the silence around is so absolute that the four of us seem to be the only inhabitants of the planet. They stare at me and in an attempt to communicate with them in some way, I improvise a song at the moment that resounds in the void; despite my poor singing abilities, they seem to listen to me with interest, immobile, their ears raised. I'm sure my voice expresses much more than any word.
To sing out loud, to doze off in a car, to pick fruit from the trees, to wander aimlessly and without time constraints, as if you never had to return.
I am not afraid to seek this freedom in the nature wherever I am, because living the moment, without fear and expectations, without past and future, makes me feel fully happy and in harmony with the universe.
The sun is setting on the horizon and promises a spectacular sunset. I take the road home and as I get closer to the coast the landscape changes and becomes smoother.
The light inflames the rocks, the prickly pears laden with fruit resembles like the symbol of the abundance of Ogliastra, this strip of Sardinian land where summer still drags on, limply, into a warm and sunny October.
On the way home, many olive trees are surrounded by groups of people who spread nets all around them. This is the time when every family gets ready to harvest olives and grapes, unusual fruits that grow only here appear in the shops and the small traders proudly tell me: "What I sell is grown here .. it is raised here."
A last look at the wild world I have just left, the sky up there offers the grand finale of a perfect day before night falls.
Losing the world to find yourself.
Henry David Thoreau
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