I walked for four days along the Via Francigena, in the segment from Bolsena to Capranica (in the area of Viterbo). I was together with 18 other people. Old and new acquaintances, united by the will to share a starting point, a journey and a destination.One step at a time. Hot, fatigue, sweat and blisters permitting. You stay together a lot, walking. And you stay alone a lot, too. Which allows the time, and the space, to breathe. To expand, to narrow. To then become something different from the usual time and the usual space. While you always go forward, on a more or less straight line, the thoughts follow their own courses, sometimes very alternative, intersecting as they wish and in every direction with the thoughts, expressions and emotions of others, in order to weave new and unpredictable plots. Sometimes, also incomprehensible. A map rather thick with emotions and anecdotes and experiences and words and silences that doesn’t exist anywhere else if not there, in that moment. Half hour after half hour. From stage to stage. Within the route. Easier to say than to try explaining, indeed.
The “rhythm” of the walk, however, seems to have nothing to do with the one of the real world. Even if it happens in the real world. News, text messages, phone calls, notifications that arrive during the walk seem almost clashing with the rhythm of the steps. They intersect badly with the surprising fresh air given by the shadow of a tree. They don’t surprise more than a sudden blast of wind. Or a small cramp in the back. Everything inevitable seems to become almost more redundant and lighter. In some ways, even more tolerable. Even if there are people who race to establish who is going to drop the biggest bomb; who modifies democracy to make it a dictatorship as much as possible; who keep sailing away from the usual war to land in the usual indifference. One who swear to come back and maybe who will and one who goes away forever and will never come back. Everything seems to go forward and to flow, as if it was easier than it really is. Along the whole space and for all the time needed. Inside every possible thought. A step after the other.
Source: La Stampa