POETRY & WORDS :: I no longer take fresh air for granted

Curtains, bunting, and lanterns in the corner of Aveline's room

One doesn’t open the windows, often, here, in this place where the air holds a strange combination of constant heat and dampness.

Most times there’s barely a difference in the numbers telling us the temperature and the percentage of water in the air.

Most times the air outside smells thick and old, as if it hasn’t moved in hundreds of years; it’s clinging to the trunks of trees, inching down the crevices in the sidewalk, barely keeping itself afloat, pouring itself into your lungs.

Inside, we empty the dehumidifier, over and over and over again.

But then, sometimes, ever so rarely, there comes a day when the dampness leaves momentarily and the humidity dips down, just a tease, just for a handful of hours. And I run to fling open all the windows, and shake out the blankets and rugs, and turn up the music and laugh and breath it all in and think of Pablo Neruda, who said

“Walking down a path
I met the air,
saluted it and said
respectfully:
‘It makes me happy
that for once
you left your transparency,
let’s talk.’
He tirelessly
danced, moved leaves,
beat the dust
from my soles
with his laughter…
the day is coming
when we will liberate
the light and the water,
earth and men,
and all will be
for all, as you are.
For this, for now,
be careful!
And come with me,
much remains
that dances and sings,
let’s go
the length of the sea,
to the height of the mountains,
let’s go
where the new spring
is flowering
and in one gust of wind
and song
we’ll share the flowers,
the scent, the fruit,
the air
of tomorrow.”

And I am happy, with this one short gust of fresh wind.

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