THE SOUL OF THINGS/ THE SOUL IN THINGS
“ NOW speak,” Anthony said. The invitation was addressed to Geronimo, an elderly Indian who lived in a hermitage on the mountain for decades. Anthony had met him by chance while afflicted by the loss of his son, he was wandering through the woods in search of peace, but indeed in the absurd hope of finding his son again. Even when he had glimpsed Geronimo from afar, appearing and disappearing among the vegetation, he had hoped he was her son Daniel. Anthony knew that Daniel had died and he couldn’t come back, but he absurdly hoped to see him, to meet him again. He had to set out on a journey, to walk through unknown and inaccessible places and suddenly his son would appear before him, come to meet him.
When Anthony approached him the old man was touching, or rather stroking the trunk of an oak and making marks on his forehead with his fingertips. Geronimo looked scared as soon as he saw him and began to back away from him. Anthony extended his arms towards him and smiled at him. “ Don’t worry …My name is Anthony. I’m a poor man wandering in these woods hoping to meet his son who is dead again. “ SOUL” Geronimo said then, kneeling in front of him. “I….Geronimo” he said also, placing a hand on his chest. Geronimo, with nods of his head and gestures of the hands, had led him to his home, a cave into the side of the mountain.
Still without speaking, he had placed bread, cheese, walnuts, hazelnuts, and perfumed herbs on a stone, that was a kind of table. With hand gestures, he had invited him to eat. Anthony, exhausted from walking had found the bread and the cheese very good and the herbs, very tasty. They had eaten in silence. When Anthony had asked about herbs Geronimo had indicated the woods. When he had asked about bread and cheese the old man had pointed to himself, pointing his forefinger to his stomach, to say ( signify) he had made them. Then he had indicated a small oven that was on a wall in the cave and had to be used to bake bread.
Anthony found Geronimo’s company not at all unpleasant, but his silence worried and unnerved him. So after talking to him again about himself, he said to him: “ Geronimo, I told you about me, now SPEAK, tell me about you. Who are you, Geronimo? Where are you from?
Do you live here alone? How long? “ Geronimo stood in silence looking at him from the other side of that stone table and he bent his head now on one shoulder now on the other, as if he wanted to say what? That it didn’t matter to talk? That what mattered was only that they had met by chance and were now facing each other. Anthony insisted a lot, but he couldn’t get Geronimo to say a word. Until a white goat with a black muzzle entered the cave bleating.
“ Oh, but you look! A goat! Is yours this goat?” Anthony asked. The goat had gone close to Geronimo, she was sniffing him, licking him. “ Of course, she is mine,” Geronimo said. “ She is the oldest of my goats. Her name is Clementina. She has been with me for many years, and with her milk I made as much good cheese as the one you just ate.” Geronimo remained a few moments in silence, looking intently at Anthony, then he said: “ The sun has risen and set a lot of time since I’ve lived here. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I ran away, I escaped from the confusion and noise and chatter of the city where I could not live. I can’t tell you how long, but it’s been a long time. Then I was young. What do you want me to tell you? I learned in this silence that words don’t matter, it matters the soul, the breath, the life. THE SOUL of ALL THINGS, even inanimate things, even objects. Down there in the city things are used, wasted, broken, and thrown away. It’s different up here….here things breathe, they have a soul. A stone, a dry branch, and even the few objects I brought with me from down there, well, I can talk to them like I’m talking to you now. I talk to them in silence and they too talk to me with this silence. Do you see this knife?” Geronimo picked up the knife with which he had sliced the breath. “ How many stories it told me. Listen…listen to it, it will tell you too….Oh, but you have to know how to listen….”
Anthony looked intently at the knife in Geronimo’s hands. “ Do you know what comes to my mind? That the knife is a weapon. It can kill ….and my son was killed in a boys’ play” “ Oh, what a terrible story. And was he killed with a knife?” “ No, he died because he hit his head from a push,” Anthony said mournfully and took the knife from Geronimo’s hands. He passed his fingertips over the blade of the knife. “ I’m wondering if this knife killed,” He said thoughtfully. Suddenly he felt that the knife was talking to him too. But sure, that knife had a soul. What was it telling him? He felt that the knife had passed through many hands before ending up in Geronimo’s hands. “ Where did you find this knife?” he asked. “ So it already told you this : that I’ve found it" Geronimo smiled so saying. “ I found it in a trash can down there in the city. “ But listen” Anthony thought “ someone (had) wanted to get rid of this knife…” “ And was it dirty? Dirty with blood?” He asked and didn’t wait for Geronimo’s answer to drop the knife from his hands.
“ No, it wasn’t dirty at all, not even with blood,” Geronimo said. And yet …and yet that knife was telling him it had been bloodstained….oh, come on, it might have been a butcher’s knife once. Indeed he felt that the knife had been dripping with blood. Blood… suddenly he saw his son with his bloody face again and he was overwhelmed with sadness. Would he see his son again? How strange, now suddenly he had the feeling that Geronimo would let him find his son again. “ I need to find my son again, Geronimo! I feel like you can help me to find ( meet) him!
Perhaps he is hiding in these woods, in the ranks of some cave….Oh, please, help me!” he cried.
“ Your son is dead, you said, and for thousands of years now there hadn’t been anyone who brings the dead back to life. But you will be able to meet his soul…you will also be able to find him in the soul of the things that belonged to him…I’ll learn you how you can “ Geronimo said, sighing and taking the knife again in his hands. The goat Clementina was licking his head.
“ But first don’t you want to know what the soul of this knife holds? Yet you asked me if it was covered with blood when I found it. “ “ Yes, I saw it sunk in the blood, “ Anthony said. “ SUNK IN THE BLOOD….yes. You know, someone killed himself with this knife. He was a child who couldn’t stand his mother’s death. He lived in the house next to mine, and was the child of a dear friend…” Geronimo was silent for a moment. “ You know, his name was Anthony, like you, even thought we called him Tony” Geronimo was silent for a moment. “ Eh, Tony left his poor father in blackest despair. Shortly after his child suicide he died of a broken heart”
“ Sure, I know I’m not the only one to have lost a child. I imagine the desperation of that poor father. But I say you that I have a desperate need to find my son again! And you, oh Geronimo, when I saw you from afar I thought it was him ( he). And now, here in front of you, in your cave, in the silence that surrounds you, I feel your best, your wisdom….oh, Geronimo, I feel that you can make the miracle or the spell to make him reappear here in front of me! “ Anthony said between tears. “ I thank you for your appreciation, but unfortunately I’m not able to bring back to life who is dead. Think that your son abandoned his mortal coil he is living another life. You can still meet his soul, even when you walk through these woods. And then you can dream of him “ the old man said. “ My dreams have been nightmares since he died!” Anthony cried.
“ Oh sorry,” Geronimo said, making a sad face. “ And tell me: do you have here with you some things, objects that belonged to your son?” He asked. Anthony extended his left arm and hand towards Geronimo. “ Since he died I have always worn his watch on my wrist,” he said with a sigh. Geronimo took the watch off Anthony’s wrist and took it in his hands. The goat Clementina bleated, raising its muzzle. “ In his watch, you can find again the time your son lived,” Geronimo said “ and the time he would have lived if he had remained alive and even the time he is living NOW as an invisible soul….Listen to his watch and it will tell you about him…THIS WATCH will even let you hear his heartbeat” “ Oh, Geronimo, his watch is just an object! Of course, it is dear to me because it remember me of him. But it is not my son and it does not bring my son back to me!” Anthony said, impatiently, indeed exasperated.
“ You have to learn to listen to this watch…it has a soul, it feels your pain, your suffering. Not only it will tell you about your son but it make you feel close to him….It is telling me a lot about your son….listen also you “ Geronimo placed the watch in Anthony’s palm. “ Listen” he said.
It was getting dark and Geronimo turned on the oil torch. The shadows, their shadows stood out on the walls of the cave. But WHAT was coming forward, as if it were flying, among their shadows? Now it was between the shadow of the stone table and that of Clementina. There was nothing in the cave that could cast that thin shadow that crept between their shadows, that overlapped them. Antony remained looking at it spellbound, holding the watch in his hand. And suddenly he began to hear a beat that was that of a heart. “ YOUR SON IS HERE, can’t you see him?” a voice said in his ear. And then he heard his son’s voice: “ DAD! I’m in front of you! I’m back!” Anthony stretched his arms toward that thin shadow with detached itself from the wall, coming toward him. “ Oh, Geronimo! You made the miracle! My son is here! He is back!” Anthony cried and fell to the ground dead.