Tag Archives: relationships

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 Hands extended, hands withdrawn, faces of openness, faces forlorn.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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Everyone wants

There’s a pigeon outside my kitchen window this rainy July morning in the monsoon. It’s soaked completely, its feathers striated and streaked by the rainwater that’s still dripping off its body as it sits under the ledge, sitting out there waiting to dry. Sitting and looking out at the darkened sky, wondering perhaps when the rain will stop so it can get on with gathering food – it’s still early in the morning. From inside the comfort of my kitchen, all I see is the pigeon’s back, its pinkish-red claws clutching the top grill of the plant nursery outside the window. There’s no movement from the pigeon, no bobbing this way or that, no sounds, no coo-cooing. Its head is pulled into its body as though it’s defending itself from the elements as it sits there on the grill, waiting to dry. Maybe it’s cold, maybe it’s conserving energy. I really have no idea. So little we know from within the comfort of our homes. On the right, below an air-conditioner casing is another pigeon, relatively drier, curious about its temporary surroundings. Is it inspecting the casing for a potential habitat for when things settle, a place to raise baby pigeons? Are these two a couple? How did they come to be on this parapet together, outside my window? Accidental? Two souls seeking shelter? I have not a clue. So little we know from behind the all knowingness of our human eyes. 

Everyone wants shelter
Everyone wants love
Every one wants peace and happiness
From a lion to a rain soaked dove

Monsoon dove

Everyone wants love

Everyone wants nurturing
Everyone wants love
Every one wants to be cared for
From the worms to the birds above

Everyone wants healing
Everyone wants love
Even the people who say they don’t
No one wants to starve

Everyone has little time
Little time on earth
Every one wants acceptance
Before they turn to dirt

Everyone you see will go
Every one, it’s true
Every one needs acceptance, for
Every one is you.

©2019 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

Refuge

It’s 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) on a sweltering Friday afternoon. Mumbai in May is more intense and humid than any other time of year. The monsoon next month will bring much needed relief. Even the birds in the trees seem to be saying so.

I’m early for my physiotherapy appointment – after years of sitting behind a desk for a living, I’ve recently exuberantly embraced a rather intense level of physical activity. My body is not fond of the enthusiastic embrace. “No thanks, buddy. What’s the hurry?” my body’s been telling me. “After being sedentary for so long, how about we ramp things up a little bit slowly, yes? Then we can get intense, okay?” But I didn’t pay much attention.

After a couple of months of sending fairly clear and polite signals, my body says, “That’s it! Enough.” And with all the clarity in the world, it pulls the slow the f*** down lever. It usually wins this exchange. I’d like to continue to be in a healthy relationship with my body for a long, long time. Rest of my life is what I’m thinking. So, here I am at the front door of the physiotherapy department at Holy Family Hospital in Bandra, Mumbai.

Just outside the front door, a dog is taking shelter in the shade provided by an overhanging construction canopy. I’ve seen this dog before on the hospital grounds – in the evenings, I’ve seen it hanging out in the parking lot. During the day, it takes refuge from the heat under a canopy like this, or below the trees near the main gate. It’s calmly asleep amidst the noise and bustle from the hospital grounds. Feet kicking slowly in a dream, peacefully asleep.

Unlike me, this dog will not be going through those doors for a physiotherapy session – it has already learned to listen to its body when it speaks. But I don’t feel hopeless. I’m actually feeling quite fortunate – here’s this dog showing me how to be long after I’ll be done with physiotherapy. It’s a very good day.

© 2019 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

Love on the beach

Life lessons from a dog…

 

© 2019 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.

Letter to a sister

Happy birthday, my darling Cookie, my only sister, my friend. I am so grateful to know you, and for the love you have shared with me all your life – ever since you came into this world, you came out laughing, with smiles and with love for everyone. One could say that you were a camera hog, but I grew up with you and I know you and you are so loving, and always have been. And so kind, so kind that it hurts you to be unkind. I love that about you, even though I struggled to understand it in the past.

I’m even more grateful and inspired by the love you have given yourself, by going down your own path, never mind the doubters, never mind those that say be careful, be safe, don’t be too emotional, you have to be strong and all that bullshit. You have shown me with your courage to express your tears, that tears in a woman or a man are not a sign of weakness. You have shown me with your tentative openness to express your fears, you have shown me, my dear, dear, dear sister, you have shown me what loving oneself looks like.

When others have said, You have to be tough, just ignore the jerks and the meanness and the insanity, especially when it’s near at hand, you have let yourself be open and you have taught me openness and acceptance without judgement, and forgiveness, but how does forgiveness even come in when you accept people, and you accept yourself? I am just understanding this now and you have been showing this to me since you were a baby. Much younger than me in years you are, my sister, yet you have taught me with your wisdom and your kindness, and your madness, if madness is what it’s called when you indulge yourself in what makes you happy, whether it’s putting a tattoo, or five, on your skin, or loving who you love, freely, or having countless numbers of shoes.

Thank you, Cookie, my baby sister, my friend and guide, for allowing me to teach you how to be present for your dog, your fur-child, and for teaching me how to love my dog, my fur-child.

How could I ask for any other kind of sister when I have this beautiful, emotional, sensitive, matter-of-fact, contradictory woman that is you, you who are teaching me through your example and your being, when I’m awake to it, how to be loving to a woman, how to hear a woman, how to listen to a woman, how to see a woman. And, really, how to be there for someone you care deeply about, starting with oneself.

Happy birthday, Cookie, my darling sister. May your day and year and life be filled with love, with joy, with laughter and with acceptance.

I love you,

Marlon

© 2019 Marlon de Souza. All rights reserved.