Tag Archives: architecture

A Kind of Magic

On the bus from Krakow, on the way to Prague, I’m just outside Katowice. Poland has been kind to me. Like all of Central Europe. Rough edges, soft edges, friends, strangers. Hands extended, hands withdrawn, faces of openness, faces forlorn. Showing up in all the right places. And at all the right times.

On the radio, two Polish DJs engage in animated conversation every few minutes, like radio hosts do most everywhere. I don’t understand what they say but I understand what they play. It’s Freddy Mercury singing A Kind of Magic. The first time I heard the song, I was in love. For the very first time in my life. It was more than a thousand years ago. At the time, the lyrics confirmed the youthful state of ecstasy I felt every time I thought of the girl who was equally enamored by me. She introduced me to A Kind of Magic. I still know the song, a thousand years later, but I don’t know what happened to her or where she is. I’ve been in love a few times since. And mostly, I don’t know anymore what happened to them or where they are. It’s all good.

Today, the words of the song reaffirm the feeling I have of being in love again. In love with the road, along an unknown journey that unfolds, one that has been unfolding for a long, long time. Like a lover waiting for me to see that it has always been there. To give me whatever I need when I need it. If I stay open to seeing. Meeting new people and feeling out new places while sometimes feeling out of place. And trying to set aside the blinkers all of us are trained to wear in order to feel “safe” and “happy”. Safe, happy…funny words.

 

On a journey of exploring Central Europe, discovering the modern and historical joys and horrors active in the architecture, languages and cultures that have evolved here. And continue to evolve. On a journey of exploring inner geographies, recent and older “right” and “wrong” turns in the landscape we create and re-shape in every moment, with every step.

Through it all, the road is supreme. There is no greater love for me than seeing things as they are and how they have been, without judgement, instead of through the lens of my own comfort or through the lens of the latest moral fads of the day and how they try to spin what is.

The state of things will always present itself no matter what. Our masks are no match for it, not in the moment and not after tens, hundreds and thousands of years of history being told by the victors.

To be able to see this, it makes life worth living. I have a fortunate life. It’s a good one. It’s A Kind of Magic, it really is.

© 2019 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

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There

Mid-morning on a late spring day. St Bart’s Church. A place of refuge. It is empty. I wander in and sit on a chair. A place to rest. From up ahead, I hear pagan music. I feel home. By the altar, a small group of people are practicing tai chi. I am reconnected with my ancestors, the sound and energy of my people, who honored and lived in harmony with the way, before voluntarily or forcibly giving it all up for organized religion and defined, dogmatic gods. I am aware of the irony of this space and other such spaces – I am sitting in a beautiful church, a monument to life undiluted, unlimited, undefined, whose architecture soars above the limited religious message that some might  choose to leave with, as often was the case in the churches of my childhood. It has been a lifetime since I detested and dreaded being confined to the beautiful architecture of places such as this, places which represented at one time my battle for self-expression with religious forces within family and community. I no more have points to prove, platforms to prop up or demolish – with Christianity or any other organized religion. People do what they do because they don’t know any better or any different. The architecture within St. Bart’s transports me to another time. A mosquito rests on my shirt. A fellow traveler with a trolley bag strolls in and sits down. More visitors. Soon, I leave this beautiful pagan space. A few blocks away, a baby in a carriage tugs at its toes and smiles at me, eyes twinkling. It’s god. Not in a church, but just there, playing with her toes.

© 2013 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.