A meditation inspired by the peaceful Umbrian countryside on the value of the word that can reveal the deepest nature of reality.

Today I was walking on the gentle and charming Umbrian hills near Porchiano. The sunset was fading. It was visible on the horizon, even if a thin mist tried to hide the glow. Silence. Everything was enfolded in silence. Only a few leaves were playing with the wind, and they let out a discreet rustle. Peace. Before me was a hill. Ancient olive trees lay gently before it, telling some arcane secrets.

In that silence I began to hear the voice of life, that hidden, fleeting, silent life. The light began to dim and took the day with it. Yet I sensed that it was waiting for me to listen to the last notes of the night before. So I lingered and stared at those olive trees to perceive the history and time they hid in their roots. The water that had been absorbed by its roots, the land which had turned into oil, the cold to whom they trusted their trembling, and the heat to whom they asked for pity. I’ve seen their branches, like hands raised to heaven in a cosmic prayer spoken with sounds and fragrance instead of words. It was then I intuited that writing is an attempt to give the trees and the hills a voice. It is the discovery of words spoken by the sunset, the wind, and the silence—words you may not hear, but ones that accept to be clothed by human signs so that other humans can listen. Writing brings things to one’s attention that perhaps no one would have otherwise noticed. Writing substantiates moments that no one grasps. Writing allows reality to unveil its deepest value. There is a hidden gift in each rose, face, sea or sunset. Word, reflection, and contemplation are necessary to open such a gift, and thus increase joy and praise.

To write is to find words that do not make the instant disappear, but that can describe what does not die with time. Words know how beauty can be drawn out from the heart of everything, and they know how to make that beauty surface. Words know praise, and they know how to make it eternal.

To write what you see, feel, and touch is to be able to grasp what is not seen, what is not felt and what cannot be touched, but which draws our heart with an invincible force. The word is the key to the depths of things. Everything is waiting for its true meaning to be revealed to itself.

Those olive trees, swaying in the wind, trusted their desire that someone would give them a voice, someone who could receive their splendor and who longs to reach the sky, someone who could embroider the words of their celestial litany to the Creator.

The sound of a car behind me breaks my thoughts. My mind gets distracted and in a moment all the dialogues are lost. I find myself alone and the night hangs over on faint light. The leaves have lost their voice; in the branches now I see nothing but branches. Yet these poor characters, these miserable words they carry inside are enclosed forever in that spark of time, in that separate peace, in that secret praise.

stefano tenti

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