A place that is not only a physical reality but also the meeting point of inner situations, spiritual experiences and parallel worlds.
A place where the being discovers itself by concentrating, in an instant, a series of inextricable connections of relationships, memories, delights, regrets, for which a striking intimate devotion is cultivated.
A place where dimensions of parallel lives can be searched for by associating what is hypothetical with what is real.
A place where it is a pleasure to sublimate the seemly loneliness of the soul, being interested in the wealth that transcends the material aspect of daily life without denying its immanence, as in the passionate participation in someone's life-story, in a collective story or in the absorbing plot of a novel.
Above all, a place that, in the necessary distance from the noise and trouble of the contingent, allows a person to get silently closer to the ultra-temporal uncertainties of the Absolute: a building transforming itself into a shelter for the soul, talking about the infinite.
A place becoming time, even the temporary overcoming of a temporal dimension, in the intense meditation of a personal search for the relationship with the Eternal.
A place like intuition of different truths, of different places.
A place as a moment of judgment: in front of the hardest exam of life consistency.
There, you judge yourself and, in the inner solitude, you address your hope to the otherworldly dimensions of spiritual realities. You look for the visage of the Absolute and understand the real meaning of a transcending vision that goes beyond any logic.
Mind, soul, thought… you let yourself sink into a deep reflection entering unfamiliar spaces and feeding on unknown energy. You relive experiences and feel their indissoluble need.
Yet, it is a place different from the passed. It is a meditation, an inner sense of anxiety for the most rigorous and involving participation in skills of life.
You understand an intuition, an emotion. You calm the inner surge in a place, in that place where you can find yourself, alone amongst a crowd of people, alone among all the rest. In that place where you can suddenly hear and feel your family, your friends and yourself. A different yet the same person at the same time. You revive your life without touching it, by feeling its delights and sorrows, anyway remembering its happy and bitter memories, contemplating its relentless flow and looking for its reasons and targets.
You discover an old-fashioned reasoning of old times, and get involved in a dialectic of intimate inventions.
But thinking and meditating mix with physical sensations. Senses give a short-lived joy but also pave the way to distant memories.
A chance for a sound that was almost forgotten, for a vision that was lived or imagined, for a scent of passed times.
And you savour: how was that sensation that had been felt by tasting…what was it? Nobody knows, but everybody can remember it, everyone can almost feel again that delightful moment when an appreciated taste was spreading inside, when the eyes relished the rainbow in the sky. A flavour of youth reappears and, with the sweet lullaby of far echoes, it leads to a dream where memory and reality become as one, where a precious and ancient art provokes the divination of symbolic landscapes that get reflected on reality as opaque mirrors of sharp but vague sensations.
A place framed by a wild nature that the human hand caresses with respect.
An original and rough nature, that is sincere and luxuriant. A richness of reassuring variety the autumn colours exalt and multiply.
It is a pleasure to dive into the astonishing and mysterious nature full of different fruits and leaves and to discover the treasure of a simple and old delicacy into a round hirsute perfection: the chestnut. It is the real element of civilization and nutrition for populations that are destitute in the hills and mountains.
You see again the sweet childish game of hide and seek: between the multicoloured leaves, there are the coveted traces of chestnuts to sacrifice on the home fire: you see how they wait to crackle happily on the friendly fire of the beloved refuge. These chestnuts are better than the taste they will furtively loose during a tired supper that is full of memories, thoughts and the hard work of the day.
In the peace, the fireplace, the kitchen, the lounge and the attic witness a quiet and silent wander; all around, nature spontaneously distributes unusual perspectives of intense autumn colours that are still torn between the noisy explosion of summer's wealth and the decline of the sleepy winter's uniformity.
In the refuge a relaxed atmosphere lights up with warm lamps and, transmigrating from the body, the thought transforms itself into an ethereal sighted being that is able to perceive the path beyond the walls and immaterially wanders on the surrounding meadows. It passes round a tree of century-old wisdom and proved resistance, jumps over ditches and ravine and easily climbs rocky asperities. Then, it stops and is suddenly back to the refuge, rooted again to the present senses to sink once more into deep thoughts and cherished memories of experiences, wrong premonitions and fears come true.
From the window, you can focus on a fire-red leaf that is slowly spinning in the air. It is like the gesture of an orchestra conductor to follow as under hypnosis, by blinking to the rhythm of the melody of a personal song resounding in the soul and transforming itself into a deep pray. And this pray soon becomes a choir where the voices get confused in the participation of the surroundings, in the incorporeal definition of remembered and present beings and in the animation of immaterial and living beings.
You collect the memories into a busy presence of dear remembrances representing the ecclesial place of a domestic and laic faith: similar to a cathedral, the refuge stands from the autumn soil to the sunny sky, it rises beyond the clouds and moves towards the bluest limits of the soul.
The rain purifying and weakening the fields hidden by autumn blankets of leaves is a never-ending background music made of inner speeches that become calm in the warm proximity of a crackling fire in the fireplace fed with ritual skill.
A calm joy is found in that reassuring silent ritual of evocative details of a soporific relaxation to slowly enjoy by making studied gestures of tranquil methodicalness to fuel the fire, sip a liqueur, consult a book, savour a cake, unwrap a chocolate, smoke slowly a cigar in the middle of the bluish curls of its smoke. Outside, the drumming of the rain exalts the sweet warmth of the refuge, rocks lazy solitudes and bears out a serene and pacific satisfaction.
In the end you desire to go out in the field, sink your boots in the mud and wander among the dripping trees in search for twigs to burn, chestnuts to roast, wonderful landscapes to discover unexpectedly together with rocks covered with musk and water-glittering meadows. Then, like a refuge of nature, you desire even more to go back to the secure warmth of the friendly shelter foreshadowing the wait of the following winter and living again the plots of famous novels, in a piece of life that makes you join your family.
While the mist is sweeping through bushes, twigs and falling leaves and overwhelming the paths with a blanket of humidity, transforming their outline with cold grey and solitary incertitude, you can feel the sudden impulse to compare it to a friendly haze by feeding the fire to affirm the solidity and generosity of the refuge, a friend of ours and of nature.
The autumn evening makes the heart melancholic but also exalts the reassuring strength of the most loved, desired and lived places that take shape as if by magic in that single refuge. The latter is the last link between reality and dream when the darkness wraps mysterious spirals round the multiform world that is framed by the horizon of domestic windows.
It is curious to note how, as the evening (the death?) inexorably progresses, a sense of anxiety worms its way into the soul and triggers memories and regrets by making them more vivid in a fraudulent but insistent manner. Yet, it is sweet to worry by clinging to the comfort of the refuge to chase away the bitterness and to rekindle expectations by giving a future to hopes previously uncertain and currently stronger and more felt.
Anyway, the anxiety evolves from indistinct sensations to the clear memory of facts, events and emotions. The memories of the past suddenly change into desired realities and, unaware, you find yourself foreshadowing unusual scenarios, future behaviours and inevitable chances. The whirl of life takes possession again of the soul which it longs for.
From the refuge there is a surprising help: the reassuring and friendly welcome of the wood that warmly decorates the building's rooms becomes material, by taking one's mind off flights into imaginary, distorted and false realities. The thought finds again a logical coherence and a motivating strength.
That furniture, those objects are the mirror of thousands of little emotions, of thousands of little memories. The passages between the rooms are like roads of personal journeys among the wreckage of thoughts that, hidden by difficult or pleasant experiences, are still composed in the tide of the present.
You think again of the new sun of the next day (life?), of that autumn hope tinged with fresh air and glimmering flames on leaves covered in raindrops, of that unique delight that only a clear sky and the crisp atmosphere of the season can offer making up for the damp past and future inclemency.
The evening becomes the wait for new discoveries to postpone positively to the future, by anticipating the walks in the humid, mushroom and wet soil scent. It is so difficult to describe the scent, that autumn scent…the personal memories together with the ones shared with friends and family come to mind. Some other memories can now be remembered, alone or together with someone else.
The idea that the season between summer and winter is the one dedicated to the memory of the dead gives food for thought. It is curious to speak about the autumn of life. Yet, all the nature surrounding the refuge explodes in autumn like a genuine master (Roman style?), whose passion oozes from the intense colours like a vibrating artistic evidence of a strong inner life and thirst for experience.
The variegated leaves, presenting thousands of colour combinations, that fall like snow on the paths and on the grass seem to be a delicate and generous kindness of a nature that is willing to offer always new suggestions to the amazed human wonder as a form of life elevation.
Footsteps over wet leaves are like a muffled walk on light clouds floating over muddy traps: the fantasy lights up with the multicoloured autumn diversity and intrigues even more in the unique originality of a sun ray that, in the persistent light rain, breaks through leaden horizons by candidly illuminating a white sharp rock jutting out of the fertile and emerald-green grass.
Walking along the paths, you spot the twigs welcoming you by sending leaves as greeting cards useful to enter the refuge.
This is not a suspended peace of a languid season, but the strength of a vital change throwing everything beyond the time limits, towards a common rebirth.
It is not like sinking into a deep sleep but like being regenerated in the wait for brand-new days.
Here the autumn is in the Christian sign of a secure resurrection, where the silence is not a form of desperate detachment but a serene wait for new meetings and new realities.
Also the autumn fruits are remarkably related to the Christian experience and characterize the most important moments of this season as in the case of grapes.
It almost seems that autumn waits for new interpretations of its real essence that reveals itself in the natural ripening of its fruits and in the evolution of the ecosystem balance. This is not all true for the symbols autumn hides in itself but for the material reality of an unfathomable or still unexplored world.
Walking on the grass, you pass round a bush that shamelessly rises among chestnuts, beeches and rocks, and think of a world populated by many tiny living beings organizing themselves with industrious perseverance to cope with the rigours of winter. What a task? For how many beings? For which place? For which refuge?
What about the biggest animals crowding the plateau? Where will they feed? And where will they find shelter?
The beauty of childish questions and of wise answers fills us with wonder.
Between the rain and the soil, steps impulsively hurry to reach a goal, to reach the favourite place for a restorative rest of body and soul, to reach the place of the thought getting enthusiastic with itself and going through this present, this walk between the dripping twigs and the damp soil, this wander through different feelings and mentioned doubts.
Nature now smiles to the refuge with vermilion nuances on verdant lips.
In the thin mist, you visualize the new refuge; you see it once again during the different steps it was dreamt, planned, built and lived.
You feel the refuge intrinsic presence in the journeys of one's own life, perceiving its reflections and feeling as well as its secret influences. These latter secretly mould it according to a mysterious idea that inexplicably transformed itself into what is now a graceful composition of shapes inconstantly inserted in the drawing of a perfect nature.
You understand the refuge comes to life thanks to the inner strength a person can release making the rooms soaked with its force. But you also perceive the original character of that unique and constantly rediscovered place where many personal contributions and suffered life participations sum up one another by creating a daily new wealth. Similarly to life, the refuge continuously flows and becomes new and always different and also becomes a moment of continuity and certitude in its stable essence.
You feel that life is actually an endless search for a secure shelter for yourself and your family.
The certitude of an eternal life is, itself, a God-sent desire to find a final shelter that can also offer solace for the earthly difficulties.
It is possible to say that everybody lives for his own shelter, or better, for the idea everybody has got about it. Some people find shelter in a flat; some others find it in a tent, under a cover, in a grotto, under a star-lit sky, in an aimless wander… Others build their own shelter on different foundations, on ideas and transcendences…Other people do not desire to have a shelter, just because they are not able to admit they have already got one…
Some people live for a spiritual shelter, some live only for the material one.
It is a pleasure to think about a personal refuge, about a warm and friendly place that harmonically fits in with a natural landscape of uncontaminated and spontaneous beauty; a place that offers material support for intimate meditation, that helps us feel again the genuine love for nature away from the confusion of the town, to appreciate the real value of things and to find again the real meaning of the deep truth.
The refuge is not seen as the personal place of exclusive truth, but as the personal place to search for this Truth to cultivate in its own dimension and in the most suitable places also shared with some one else.
A place to open only for moments and times of relaxation and of genuine relationship.
A place for involving talks free from any immanent official character and from imminent appointments.
It is nice to consider that place of secure shelter as being the womb of your own mother in order to fully enjoy the delights of the moments of more intense meditation on the existence, by collecting from nature the strengthening sap useful to overcome the dangers of daily life.
And when you are back in the refuge, you think about you mother's wisdom, goodness and teaching.
In the refuge, a desire of the infinite throbs; it is almost the natural prelude to the ecclesial forms of interaction with God. In the search for the infinite, the mystery of the invisible presence of the maternal affection takes unfathomably shape. Its essence seems to be perceived in the vibration of a secret movement waving in the rooms of the refuge.
You suddenly sense the distorted consideration that is commonly attributed to the idea of the refuge: generally it is seen as a shelter from evil and a means of selfish defence.
It is not possible not to think about the antiatomic-shelters, about the fugitives' shelters and about the shelters from bad weather.
This refuge is not a passive defence but the active tool to spread otherwise dozing resources or to go in search of organic relationships with a universe that is bigger than the daily world. A tool, or maybe an intermediate goal, that is useful to elevate the spirit, to make the brain sharper and to offer a stronger backing to the body to restore the balance of the being.
It is the tool for a deeper communion with oneself.
It is not a shelter from the others but a refuge to rediscover the real, authentic meaning of staying with them.
From what should we escape if in the refuge we can become enriched of the infinite?
This thought therefore tarries on rhetoric or maybe boring meditation and the reflection becomes lost when hidden emotions turn up till being stopped by the mind addressing itself to a new visual contemplation.
The surrounding autumn redraws the graceful painting that frames the refuge.
During the evening, a red glow blood-stains surly clouds rekindling the desire of serene familiarity and domestic tranquillity lived in the shelter of nostalgic relief.
Inside the refuge, the rooms revive feelings and presences in a warm welcome of places and memories.
Above the refuge, the heart flies towards the red glow in order to unveil the mystery of the Eternal.