When the musty smells of Winter move over for the freshness of early Spring, I always think of you. When the dewy snow drops melt into nothingness, and trees stand proud wearing their crowns of new leaves and tiny yellow flowers, I feel your presence. I don’t know why this particular change of seasons reminds me of you, there are others during the year that do not. When I walk the empty roads, thinking about anything and everything in the light, refreshing rain, I often feel like you are watching me. Are you really, or is it just an echo of a wishful thought? As every new spring day dawns, I tell myself that I’m being silly, conjuring up these thoughts and moments and feelings, while I should be living out in the world rather than inside my head. And yet, and yet, I just can’t help thinking them and feeling you, all day, all around.
I would sometimes sit out in the benches in my balcony with a cup of tea in summer. It is a very peaceful place most of the time, though too cold to be in winter. Beyond the garden I can see the mountains of the North chain in the Austrian Alps. I don’t generally watch sunrises, they insist on coming too early in the day. But the sunsets, absolutely marvellous. My favourites are the late summer sunsets.
My balcony faces west, so I don’t actually see the sun, but I can see the light pass over the mountains, range by range. On clear days, the contrast the light makes with the blue sky is beautiful, not to forget the white clouds reflecting the golden light. Right before the sun goes down, it’s like they cluster around for that last bout of warmth before the chilly night. The golden light becomes amplified in their white nebulous bodies. I have seldom seen a more beautiful sight.
From my seat, I can vaguely see the spires of the church nearby. I have to strain my neck a little bit to see it, there is a rather large pine tree and a few buildings in between. I mostly just hear the church clock, striking the hour. The church stands at one end of the park that I go for my walks to. The park itself is notorious as the main drug park of this little city, but I largely ignore its reputation in summer and spring. It is only in fall and winter when it becomes dark earlier that I adjust my schedule so that I’m not inside the park too late. Perhaps it is the most basic of all human conditions that prompts such an action, fear of the dark.
This morning, the mountains were covered in a thick film of mist. It almost seemed as if it had snowed up there already. I don’t see it anymore. Even if it had, the relatively warm day has melted it away. Their heads are bare and Grey now, as it usually is, except in winter. To be surrounded by mountains is a strange feeling, especially if you are not used to it. There are lots of hills and mountains where I grew up, but my hometown is primarily characterised by its coast and proximity to the sea. You have to travel outside the city in order to wander in the mountains. In the places I’ve lived since, mountains were always something you travelled to see. Nowhere else, but in Innsbruck, were they a constant presence. Here they are close enough to see all the time, to touch, to climb. They are real in the realest possible way.
I’m leaving Innsbruck in three weeks, for the forseeable future, perhaps forever. I’m taking a long holiday at home, and then me and my panoply of random things are moving to France, to the landlocked city of Clermont-Ferrand. I didn’t have an easy relationship with Innsbruck. After almost five years, I suppose a few squabbles are the norm. But I do believe that I will miss it terribly. I will miss the mountains that I never embraced, the office room in which I never felt at home, the people whom I will forget and the home that was never mine. I will miss them all.
P.S – I’ve written about missing Innsbruck once before, but the melancholy of this golden sunset prompted another of those.
What was she willing to give up for love ?
She had nearly given up everything for it.
She often said to herself that she was too young then.
But in her heart of hearts, she knew that she still will, even today.
She had always been reticent to speak about it, even think about it. Remembering the love without the grief had been quite a task. The loving, the crashing and burning, all are intertwined in her mind. Almost a decade has passed since the event, but that grief still calls a part of her heart its own.
She used to be a romantic. As years passed, it gave way to cynicism, bit by bit, until she didn’t know where her skin ended and her sarcasm began. It seems almost like a cliché, a girl with solid upbringing, dreams of unicorns and rainbows and princes, kisses toads only to know that in real life, there are no princes, just you pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, trying to stay afloat.
And then he asked, ‘Do you believe in love ?’
She answered, ‘Yes’.
‘What kind of love ?’
‘That which smolders forever’.