Smaragdna šuma / The Emerald Forest

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“Beli, ti ćeš totalno da pobeliš…” Ova rečenica je u meni izazvala komešanje i nasmejao sam se od srca. Gledao je u moje sede vlasi i čudio se kako klinac-srednjoškolac može da krene da sedi tako rano. Bilo mu je totalno zanimljivo, zabavljala ga je ta misao i kao da je svaka nova seda vlas predstavljala novo oduševljenje. Postoji nešto u njegovom glasu, što je uvek delovalo tako daleko i veliko. I ova rečenica, kao i mnoge druge samo je sumirala jednu dimenziju moje ličnosti učinivši je očiglednom i jednostavnom činjenicom. Reka je lagano proticala ispod mosta na kome smo stali da predahnemo i miris košene trave na obali opijao i ispunjavao moja pluća koja su se borila za vazduh. Osećao sam duše koje nisu tu. “Idemo Beli! Ne smemo da dozvolimo da nam se mišići ohlade. Nećemo se pomeriti ako se to desi!” Nastavio sam lagano da trčim pored njega, pokušavajući da održim tempo. Vatra je gorela u mojim mišićima, ali začuđujuće nije mi smetalo. To je njegov uticaj na mene, znao sam. Zavesa je krenula da se diže, njegove vučje oči su sevnule gledajući u šumovitu stazu ispred nas i kilometri koji nas čekaju se stopiše u jednu misao. Neke osobe se pojavljuju u našem životu samo da bi nas pogurale napred.

smaragdna-sumaUpoznao sam ga tokom jedne tople prolećne noći. Sedeo je na klupi i delovao kao da uživa u tišini. Dan pre toga je bio prilično zauzet. Veliko venčanje u mestu u kome sam odrastao, stotine ljudi koji cirkulišu na sve strane, buka i muzika i cirkus koji takvi događaji nose sa sobom. Kada se gužva raščistila, kada si napokon mogao da čuješ sopstvene misli, tamo je sedeo on. Zračio je nekom intrigirajućom smirenošću, kao da celokupan dan nije ni najmanje registrovan na njegovom radaru. Nije delovao ni najmanje umorno. Mahnuo je rukom i rekao: “Sedi, Beli. Slušaj.” Iz prva mi nije bilo najjasnije šta je to što treba da čujem, ali onda, lagano zvuci su krenuli da se razdvajaju i da izranjaju iz tišine koja je bila takav kontrast prethodnom danu. Tamo su se čuli cvrčci i blago pirkanje vetra. Osetio sam jezu kada je svež vazduh proleteo kroz moju kosu. Daleki nepoznati miris koji me je asocirao na šumu i pašnjake je odjednom postao prisutan. Na njegovom licu je bio očaravajući osmeh. Kao da se igra sa mnom. “U ovo doba godine, možeš da osetiš kakvo će leto biti. A ovo će biti savršeno za kampovanje. Prošlog sam morao da tražim prenoćište u manastiru, ali ovo će biti posebno…”

Želeo sam da čujem više o kampovanju. Najbliže tome što sam ikada do tada bio je pravljenje roštilja na obali Dunava sa porodicom, gde su moj tata i teča pecali i gde sam slušao priče o alasima koji su riblju čorbu kuvali tako što su uzimali vodu ronivši u povećoj bari u blizini i punili flaše direktno sa izvora na dnu. Ali te večeri taj koncept je dobio novu dimenziju. Ovaj čovek ispred mene mi govori o totalnoj izolovanosti od sveta. Govori kako je prošlog leta bio uhvaćen u takvo nevreme da je sklonište morao da potraži u manastiru na koji je naišao tih dana. Kako mu je Iguman ponudio topli obrok i suvu odeću. Priča mi o zanimljivim teorijama o javnim ličnostima koje je čuo od tog sveštenika i kako je već sledećeg dana zahvalio na gostoprimstvu i uprkos želji sveštenika da ostane duže, nastavio put šume.

Šta je to što nagoni čoveka da radi takve stvari? Avantura? Testiranje sopstvenih granica? Ljubav prema prirodi i samoći? I odjednom, ta misao je zauzela vodeću poziciju. Samoća. To je ono što sam video na njegovom licu. Samo ovog puta je bilo drugačije. On je uživao u njoj. Ona mu je saveznik. On vlada njome i ona vlada njime. Njegovi demoni su tako jaki. On jeste demon. I u njegovim očima vidim sebe. Njegov pogled je probudio nešto u meni. Nešto nepoznato.  Proveo sam celu noć u razgovoru s njime. Čuo citate iz knjiga iz kojih je vukao inspiraciju. Bukowski i Hesse su imena koja je često pominjao. Tada nisam znao mnogo o njima. Moji vidici su poprimali novu dimenziju.

Nisam više siguran koliko je vremena prošlo od te večeri. Znam da su tada tinejdžerski hormoni u meni radili punom parom i da tamo preko brda, sa druge strane reke su se nalazile neke devojke koje su mi prilično zaokupirale pažnju i koje sam često posećivao.  Prelazio sam most i za trenutak zastao da osmotrim prilaz reci gde smo se kao klinci svakog leta kupali. U proleće reka je uvek brža i dublja. Tako je bilo i sada. Žuborenje vode i šuštanje krošnji nadvijajućeg drveća je ovog puta zahtevalo posebnu pažnju. “Slušaj”, ponovo sam čuo.  I zvuci krenuše da se razdvajaju, da izviru i slikaju prizor oko mene. Osetio sam glasove. Osetio sam ljude. Ali oni nisu bili tu. U stvari bili su, ali ne sada. Ne u tom trenutku. Ili možda jesu. Svakako nisam mogao da ih vidim, osećao sam ih i bilo ih je toliko mnogo. Osećaj je bio preplavljujuć. Vrtoglavica me je uhvatila. Stegnuo sam čvrsto drvenu ogradu i predamnom je bljesnulo. Video sam ljude. Video sam kako prelaze most. Video sam kako se most gradi. Osetio sam svaku pojedinačnu emociju koju je bilo ko osetio prelazeći taj most. Vredne ljude koji se vraćaju kući posle celodnevnog obrađivanja njiva, tužne ljude koji odlaze na obližnje groblje, srećne ljude i mladence koji se vraćaju iz obližnjeg manastira. “Slušaj”. I vreme je stalo. Nešto nepoznato, komešalo se u meni. Moji demoni su krenuli da se bude. Više nikad neću biti isti.

Od tada, bliženje svakog leta je značilo samo jedno. Moj prijatelj će uskoro otići na planinu i provesti dobar deo leta tamo, preživljavajući u prirodi, sam. Ali pre toga moraće psihički i fizički da se pripremi na to i ja sam rešen da se približim njegovom svetu što je više moguće. Određeni magnetizam me je privlačio njemu i želeo sam da naučim više. Šta predstavljaju ove stvari koje sam krenuo da osećam? I zašto mi se čini da bolje poznajem sebe kada je on tu? Kako sedenje na Ramskoj tvrđavi i gledanje zalaska sunca sa njime čini da osećam kao da nisam prvi put ovde?

Šumovita staza se i dalje pružala kilometrima ispred nas. Više nisam ni znao koliko dugo trčimo. “Kako ide, Beli?” I opet taj osećaj da se igra sa mnom. Kako je moglo da ide?! Izgledao sam kao zajapureni vepar, nisam osećao sopstvene udove, vatra je gorela u mojim mišićima… Ali vrlo je dobro znao da neću stati. Znao je da ću ga pratiti koliko god bude bilo potrebno. I to ga je zabavljalo. To je mene zabavljalo. “Još malo pa stižemo do jednog zarđalog lonca koji je neko bacio uz put. Tada znam da je ostalo još malo do kraja ove staze,” rekao je. I poverovao sam mu, znajući da posle tog lonca ima još koji kilometar koji je ostao. Rekao je da on tada kreće da trči još brže kao finish. I sa njegovim ubrzanjem i ja sam poleteo, pitajući se otkud mi snaga za tako nešto… Demoni u meni su jurili ka njegovoj viziji.

Neke osobe se u našem životu pojavljuju, samo da bi nas pogurale napred. Sada razumem to.  Možda bolje nego ikada. Od te prve zanimljive večeri, stekao sam prijatelja koji je u meni raspalio želju da se bacim u nepoznato i pronađem sebe na mestima koja nisam ni znao da postoje. Naveo me je da shvatim da i ja imam svoje planinske vrhove koje treba osvojiti. Pokazao mi je putanju i neverovatno, ali uvek je bio tu kad god sam krenuo da skrećem sa nje. Ako sam se iz svoje najnovije gluposti vraćao sam po mraku, on se nekako našao uz put sa baterijskom lampom. Ukoliko sam bio depresivan i usamljen i zaputio se na trening u teretanu u kojoj sam znao da ću biti sam, on je već uveliko trenirao tamo. Sasvim slučajno, bio je uvek na pravom mestu u pravo vreme da se postara da plamen u meni gori istim intenzitetom.

Prošlo je osam godina kako sam se odselio iz mesta u kome sam odrastao. Osam godina kako ga nisam video.

Nedavno sam ponovo čuo od njega: “Nisam te prepoznao, a i kako bih kada te tako dugo nisam video. Pozdrav, prijatelju! Kada ću te opet videti i gde, ako želiš?” Rekao sam mu da smo Milica i ja krenuli da pišemo blog. Zahvalio sam mu i rekao da je on jedan od najvećih faktora zaslužnih za to. Rekao sam da što se mene tiče, možemo se videti prvom prilikom kada budem svratio u rodnom mesto. Gotovo da sam mogao da vidim onaj osmeh na njegovom licu. Nikada nije prihvatao hvalospeve, njegova skromnost me je uvek inspirisala. Rekao je: “Pričaćeš mi o tome i zaslugama. Da te ne gnjavim, pričaćemo kad se vidimo. Mnogo je vode Mlavom proteklo od našeg poslednjeg susreta, imaćemo valjda o čemu da pričamo…” O i te kako ćemo imati. Oduvek smo imali. Demoni u meni su se uskomešali. Bacili su se na zidove zaborava i krenuli da kidaju. Rekao mi je gde on sada živi i završio rečenicu sa: “Dođi ili me pozovi, doći ću gde god da si.”

“Radujem se tome. Čujemo se prijatelju…”

“Uvek!”

____________________________________________________________

“Whitey, you’re going totally white…” This sentence has caused a stirring in me and I laughed heartily. He looked at my gray hairs and wondered how high school kid can go gray so early. He found it totally interesting. The thought of it entertained him. It was like an each new gray hair caused a new excitement. There’s something in his voice, which has always seemed so far away and mighty. And this sentence, as well as many others just summed one dimension of my personality, making it obvious and simple fact. The river slowly flowed under the bridge where we stopped for a break and smell of mowed grass on the bank intoxicated and filled my lungs which struggled for air. I felt the souls that were not there. “C’mon Whitey! We must not allow our muscles to cool down. We will not move if it happens! “I continued to slowly run along with him, trying to keep pace. The fire was burning in my muscles, but surprisingly I did not mind. It’s his influence on me, I knew. The curtain started to rise, his wolf eyes flashed looking at the wooded path in front of us and miles that await us fused into a single thought. Some people appear in our lives just to push us forward.

smaragdna-sumaI met him during a warm spring night. He sat on the bench and looked like he enjoyed the silence. The day before was pretty busy. Big wedding in my hometown, hundreds of people who circulate on all sides, noise, music and circus that such events pose. When the crowd cleared, and you were finally able to hear your own thoughts, there he sat. He radiated an intriguing calmness, as if the whole day is not at all registered on his radar. He did not seem the least tired. He waved his hand and said, “Sit down, Whitey. Listen.” At first, I was not clear what it is I need to hear, but then, slowly sounds have begun to separate and to emerge from silence, which was such a contrast to the previous day. There you could hear crickets and gently blowing of the wind. I felt a chill when the fresh air flew through my hair. Distant, unfamiliar smell that reminded me of the forest and pasture was suddenly there. On his face was a captivating smile. Like he’s toying with me. “At this time of the year, you can feel what kind of summer will it be. And this one will be perfect for camping. Last summer I had to ask for lodging at the monastery, but this one will be special…”

I wanted to hear more about the camping. The closest that I’ve ever been to it was barbecuing on the banks of the Danube with my family, where my dad and uncle were fishing. There I listened to the stories of fishermen who cooked fish soup by diving in big pond nearby and filling bottles directly from the spring at the bottom. But that evening, the concept was given a new dimension. The man in front of me was telling me about total isolation from the world. He said that last summer he was caught in such a storm that he had to seek refuge in a monastery which he passed by those days. How the Abbot offered him hot meal and dry clothes. He told me about interesting theories about public figures which he heard from that priest and how very next day, he thanked the priest for the hospitality and despite his desire to stay longer, proceeded to the forest.

What is it that compels a man to do such a thing? Adventure? Testing his own limits? Love of nature and solitude? And suddenly, the thought has taken a leading position. Loneliness. This is what I saw on his face. Only this time it was different. He enjoys it. It is his ally. He rules with it, and it rules him. His demons are so strong. He is a demon. And in his eyes I see myself. His look awakened something in me. Something unknown. I spent the whole night talking to him. I have heard quotes from books, which were his inspiration. Bukowski and Hesse are the names he often mentioned. Then I did not know much about them. My views have begun to take a new dimension.

I’m not sure how much time has passed since that night. I know that then, my teenage hormones were working overtime and over the hill, on the other side of the river were some girls who pretty much preoccupied my attention and whom I often visited. I was crossing the bridge and paused to observe access to the river where we swam every summer as kids. In the spring the river is always faster and deeper. So it was this time. The water’s murmur and rustle of arching trees, demanded special attention this time. “Listen,” I heard again. And the sounds have begun to separate, to emerge and paint pictures of the scene around me. I felt voices. I felt people. But they were not there. In fact they were, but not now. Not at this time. Or maybe they were. Certainly I could not see them, I felt them, and they were so many. The feeling was overwhelming. I was caught by dizziness. I firmly gripped the wooden railing in front of me and there was a flash. I saw people. I saw them crossing the bridge. I saw the bridge being built. I felt every single emotion that was felt by anyone who had ever crossed the bridge. Hard working people who were returning home after a day tending the fields, sad people who went to the nearby cemetery, happy people and newlyweds returning from a nearby monastery. “Listen.” And time stood still. Something unknown, churned up in me. My demons are waking up. I’ll never be the same.

Since then, the oncoming of every summer has meant only one thing. My friend is about to go to the mountain and spend a good part of the summer there, surviving in nature alone. But first he will have to mentally and physically prepare for it and I’m determined to get closer to his world as much as possible. Certain magnetism drew me to him and I wanted to learn more. What are the things that I started to feel? And why do I seem to know myself better when he’s around? How sitting at Ram fortress and watching the sunset with him makes me feel like it’s not my first time there?

The wooded trail still stretched for miles in front of us. I did not even know how long we ran. “How’s it going , Whitey? “Again, the feeling he’s toying with me. How could it go?! I looked like a flushed boar, I did not feel my own limbs, the fire was burning in my muscles… But he known very well that I will not stop. He knew I was going to follow him as long as it takes. And it amused him. It amused me. “A little more and we will reach a rusty pot that someone had thrown along the way. Then I know there’s not much more ’till the end of this path,” he said. And I believed him, knowing that after the pot there is still a few miles to go. He said that he then starts to run faster for the finish. And with his acceleration I took off too, wondering whence the power to do so… The demons inside me raced toward his vision.

Some people appear in our lives, only to push us forward. I understand that, now. Maybe better than ever. From that first interesting evening, I got a friend who inflamed my desire to throw myself into the unknown and find myself in places I did not even know existed. He made me understand that I have my own mountain peaks to conquer. He showed me the path and unbelievable, but he’s always been there when I started to drew from it. If I was to return at night from my latest nonsense, he somehow came along with a flashlight. If I was depressed and lonely and gone to the gym where I knew I would be alone, he have already trained there. By coincidence, he was always in the right place at the right time to ensure that the flame burns inside me with the same intensity.

It’s been eight years since I moved out of the place where I grew up. Eight years since I saw him.

I recently heard from him again: “I did not recognize you, and how could I since it’s been so long I’ve seen you. Greetings, my friend. When will I see you again, and where, if you want?” I told him that Milica and I started to write a blog. I thanked him and said that he is one of the major factors that account for this. As well as I’m concerned, we can see each other the first occasion when I drop in my home town. I could almost see the smile on his face. He never accepted praises. His modesty has always inspired me. He said: “You will tell me about it and merit. To not bother you, we’ll talk when we see each other. Lots of water has elapsed through Mlava since our last meeting, I guess we’ll have something to talk about…” Oh, we will. We always had. The demons inside me stirred. They threw themselves at the walls of oblivion and started to tear. He told me where he lives now and ended with the sentence: “Come, or give me a call, I’ll come wherever you are.”

“I’m looking forward to it. ‘Talk to you my friend… “

“Always!”

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