A mild mid-summer night in the forest of Belleme in the natural park of Le Perche.
I'm on the guard for the night. Mads sleeps in his sleeping bag next to me. We are sleeping around 8 candles that gives us light and that protect us. I write to stay awake and at times I looks at the stars between the trees of the forest. Soon I will wake up Mads for his guard turn. The others sleeps quietly in the darkness around me. I stay awake looking at the candles at the center on a carpet of ferns. The quite calm of the dark forest. I am also quite because the others are around me. Even if they sleep and it is me to look after them, they also take care of me. We reassure each other.
The starred sky is magnificent, so many stars, white in the black sky. The profiles of the trees are like hands that touch the sky. The milk way is light and soft in this magic that the celestial vault is. In the underbrush the closest noises of nocturnal animals. Far away the sound of civilization; an airplane is passing and the industries never sleep. We all spoke around the fire of candles, in the center between us, sitting on the ground in the night. The trees being our celestial blanket and the dry leaves making a comfortable bed. The quietness of the forest in the night. Also Mads spoke. And I shared my dreams about what is a journey and destiny. From a train station to a bicycle. The project of Slow Turism of the old railway station in Rémalard. Like the project in Italy with Elise..
And suddenly a first loud noise is close to me. I find myself holding tight all my muscles, my heart accelerated and my sight to the wall of darkness in front of me. What could it be? Is there danger? Shall I stand up and use my torch? Time passes and I listen..then I relax and I realize that I know nothing about fear. I feel it in surface only in these situations. Otherwise what do I know?
And then another grunt, or so I hear, comes from behind the tree. What is this now? It made me wince two feet from me. Maybe I just imagined it. But my heart speeds up again. Fear and thoughts come back again. And it come back also the memory of that night in Liguria with Valerio. Our adventure with the wild boars.
Around me I see only the shapes of the sleeping bags of the people I am responsible for. The heart pumps, I listen and I light the torch hoping not to find a wild boar ready to charge in front of me. The light beam pierce the black curtain and shadows are all around. The fear of a night in the forest. The noise of nocturnal animals. So innocent during the day..no tent to protect us. Tonight we sleep under the stars.
Celia winces in her dreams and I turn rapidly.
The fear..what do I know of fear? These are the occasions where I am the closest. I laugh at myself thinking about our ancestors’ quests and what they lived.
The wind in the trees fronds and here the light of the candles twinkles just enough to light my pages and these words.
We need to live these moments.