The wheel of time – Tale
The breakup had happened like this, without giving any warning and without giving anyone time to prepare. Similarly, we have all been affected by the Covid-19 virus and its consequences.
As every day, the wheel had started to turn at its usual time. One by one the people arrived and took their places: the early risers lined up at the crack of dawn, ready to go up, the latecomers, anxiously and in great haste, hoping for the last race.
It was a Friday like any other, so it was thought.
Everyone was doing their rounds: some yawning, still sleepy; who smiled, already thinking about the weekend to come; everyone waited, more or less patiently, for the day to pass in order to get off the wheel and, finally, return to their own home.
Every now and then there was some strange creaking but no one seemed to worry too much, after all, if the carousel leader continued to observe them with a serene face and a happy smile, they had no reason to doubt. And then they thought ‘everything is fine’. It was now afternoon, the sun was starting to lower, making the air cooler and the wheel began to slow down, creating an increasingly relaxed and light atmosphere. Then, suddenly, here is the unexpected, the unexpected that everything changes.
The breakup had happened like this, without giving any warning and without giving anyone time to prepare. The carousel leader had initially tried to calm the minds, it would have been enough to warn the technician and take a little patience to resolve the situation, so he said, but things did not go exactly like this. It was not the usual ‘technical failure’, nothing that could be solved with a few simple indications: after muttering in a low voice on the phone, forcing the facial expressions to a reassuring smile, it was time to share the truth with everyone. We had to wait until the weekend passed to receive expert help and allow people to return to their lives: the descent from the carousel would, in fact,
The carousel leader was then overwhelmed with questions and a need for reassurance. The fear of falling from the wheel pervaded the minds, everyone had their good reasons for wanting to get off as at the end of each day and go towards their own projects and their own freedom.
By trying not to swing, with cautious movements and firm hands around the bars, it would have been possible to reduce the risk margin; after all it was a question of patiently resisting until Monday, so everyone thought and rethought to give himself courage.
They could do it, indeed: they had to do it.
Friday had been a strange evening and, after so much talking about what had happened, everyone had fallen asleep deeply in search of a faraway shelter in time and space in which to find comfort.
On Saturday morning, like every self-respecting Saturday in the village, even if in that new, anomalous situation, the adults woke up full of good intentions: it was so long that they could not enjoy the view offered by the wheel, usually taken from his turning incessantly, and they could finally listen to their own thoughts, usually covered by the noises of the carousel, the chatter of people, tell stories to their children, enjoy their amazed gaze. The fear was great but, locked and protected inside your cabin, that play of fate was perhaps a possibility. The children were lost, it had never happened in their life that they could watch time pass so slowly and, frankly, they didn’t know what to do with it. At the same time, however,
By being careful and sticking together, the worst would pass quickly, Monday would come in the blink of an eye.
The desired moment had come almost quickly and that morning no one seemed sleepy, their eyes were all wide open, wide with anxious waiting. The technician had arrived, dark glasses and a briefcase clutched in his right hand: he was reviewing, carefully scrutinizing each gear, trying to understand what was hiding, what was the origin of the damage. The more time passed, the more his confusion seemed to increase. He couldn’t help but shake his head. It was the carousel leader who now had the thankless task of communicating to everyone the need to extend that wait, to have to wait a week or, who knows, maybe two, to let expert technicians find a solution to that unexpected failure, so unusual.
People at this point were really bewildered, they wondered how it was possible to remain so still, to suddenly suspend their life; on the other hand they realized, however, that nothing at that moment could be more important than protecting oneself, protecting the other. At this point everyone had started to huddle silently inside their cabins, being careful not to lean out and, above all, not to swing them: it was a question of balance, the carelessness of a single person could have produced chain oscillations and put thus in danger the life of each of them.
Time had never passed so slowly, that kind of frenzy by which they had been so long taken by the hand and guided had left them like this, in suspense, with a simple ‘come back soon’ had gone away without leaving any indication. Accustomed to running during the day as in a marathon shoulder to shoulder over time, the adults immediately felt the instinct to fill their days, to entertain their children, proactive and stimulating: perhaps this was the only way who possessed to react, without hearing their thoughts too clearly, without having to ask themselves, therefore, if they were good full-time parents.
The cabin could be repainted like this, the windows polished, the cushions renewed with colors and patterns and, why not, an extra touch of green might have made the atmosphere warmer. The children, for their part, could paint, invent stories, play cards and help knead cookies. How many things could have been done! Thinking and rethinking, you could always get new ideas, the important thing was to be able to not stop. The truth was that, for children, that unknown time was not so bad, it smelled of family, of caresses on the head and shared smiles, smelled of calm and shelter from their fears, the ones that often made them feel so fragile. and angry, who had made them wish they could be tight in a hug,
The first days had been warmed by the sun, looking down leaning out of the cabin could cause a lot of fear but, staying inside and dedicating oneself to simple things, it was even possible, at times, to forget what was happening. The return of the guardian angels, yes, that was a moment in which no evasion or defensive removal could be attempted: the guardian angels, as they were called, every morning came down cautiously from their cabins and spent the whole day holding firm between the own hands a rope with all the forces they had, thus allowing to secure the stability of the carousel as much as possible. Their tired faces, their wounded and aching hands, all of them told a serious story, a story that was scary,
One evening, as the sun went down, a thin voice had begun to intone a song: the notes of that melody, like many small keys, had managed to enter the hearts of people who immediately felt pervaded by a sense of euphoria and confidence, which rose quickly from the belly to the head; a complicit glance was enough to feel so close to each other and to timidly join that now growing chorus of voices. Evening after evening, that moment of sharing had now become an unmissable appointment, an experience capable of raising the spirits, of giving them that charge that would make them ready to face the next day. Almost.
At the end of the week, the possibility of having to remain suspended for a fortnight had become a certainty. At this point it was necessary to reorganize so that children and young people would not stop learning: thinking and rethinking, it was decided by mutual agreement to transmit a lesson every day through the loudspeaker up to now used for the diffusion of music and service communications inside the park. Listening was not always fluid, sometimes the voice was croaking and it was difficult to understand well; add to it, moreover, the fact of not being able to see the masters in person, of inevitably feeling observed by one’s family and here being able to be receptive, even before productive, could prove to be a real mission.
It was a great test of balance for everyone, a balance that certainly would never be the same again. What at first seemed so difficult, almost unthinkable, was now happening quite naturally, as every ‘law of survival’ tells. Each in his own way was finding, one step at a time, the best way to adapt to the unexpected.
Incredibly, the urgent need to fill time and move was mitigating, in that break from everyday reality some awareness was gradually emerging and revealed themselves with extreme clarity: the best way to treasure this experience was to carry a luggage with you. of the introspective journey just completed, placing shots and souvenirs within one’s inner world so that, even returning to usual life, it would never be forgotten.
In the course of the days it could happen that the cabin oscillated, as if the wind, passing, was amused by giving it a little push and then running away as fast as only he can do: precisely in those moments, although the wheel was completely still, the mood could begin a new ride on the roller coaster and go up, down, up and then down again and again until the end of that impetuous ride.
It was natural that some questions rang in the head and that it was difficult to silence them: we wondered what it would be like to return to the usual life and how long it would take, if the work would be affected, but also when it would finally be possible to embrace a new person again. Dear friend. In short, although it was clear more than in other moments how much life was a gift, in that continuous cycle of thoughts it was not at all easy to be able to put a brake on and stop the race: it was better to let it flow until its arrival.
The children, for their part, did not seem so worn out. They certainly wished they could stretch their legs a little with a good run, ride a bike and lie down on the lawn with friends to catch their breath but, apart from that, apart from a little nostalgia for lost freedom, for the rest, after all, they were experiencing that relaxation that was previously difficult even to imagine. After all, even before they were used to living with friends mostly looking out from the cabin, telling each other dreams in the drawer and laughing out loud, doing without physical proximity. But was it really so? Did they really manage to face those suspended days with a clear mind and a light heart?
Perhaps, in reality, their inner voice asked questions that often remained inside, silent, without anyone being able to listen to them, and then sought an answer in the faces and expressions of the greatest. Perhaps the shell they had already built around themselves, in that forced immobility, was gradually becoming more and more thick, hard, and would have made it even more difficult to return to the outside world. It is true, albeit paradoxical, that the longer parents and children spent their time physically close, the more a wall of silence grew between them that made them emotionally distant: not being used to dialogue, it was difficult to have a constructive confrontation. that did not make words explode as in the launch of a spaceship or, on the contrary,
Finally the carousel leader had some good news to give, there was a solution that in a few hours would allow the wheel to start spinning again. Finally the long awaited moment was one step away. How much they had wished for! How many things they wanted to do to make up for lost time! They felt thrilled and grateful at the thought of being able to spend moments that they would once have considered habitual but now seemed so full of life.
Of course, perhaps at first it would have seemed a bit strange but there was that desire not to lose anything, to capture every moment and live it intensely that often is felt when the experience leads us to open our eyes as for the first time. and makes us aware of the uniqueness that distinguishes every single moment.
The great enthusiasm that pervaded those present, however, was contained by a further communication, which arrived immediately after, when the shouts of joy from all had allowed the leader of the carousel to start talking again. If it was true that there was probably a possible solution to the problem, it was equally true that it would be experimental, that it was not possible to predict whether it would work or what its evolution would be: the gear to be replaced, in fact, was now out of production and the the only possibility was to create a new mechanism. Starting over brought with it a margin of risk, it required the courage to take a leap into the void, all simultaneously. It would certainly not have been easy to get out of one’s comfort zone, tolerate uncertainty, the instability that would have accompanied the new departure until a new settlement, but it was the only chance they had. After seeking support in each other’s gaze, one person at a time began the cautious descent from their cabins via ropes. The enthusiasm was such that it was often necessary to call to order those who did not pay sufficient attention to the indications given, but it was difficult for them to be able to control themselves, inebriated as they were. They felt, in fact, as if under the effect of falling in love, confused but at the same time happy. It was, however, absolutely necessary that they did not lose their course, that the North Star did not stop orienting them among the waves of that sea of which they could not have full control: the North Star was to be sought within itself and, once found,
Once the necessary measures had been arranged, it was time to leave the carousel: after having lived in that suspended time, here is finally the possibility of returning to the warmth of their homes. Priority had been given to the elderly, the most fragile in this unpredictable descent, and then, in turn, first the adults and then children and teenagers descended, because, although usually they were considered the most delicate creatures, to be protected, in this situation they could count on agility and endurance superior to anyone else.
Only once they got out and placed one next to the other was it possible to breathe a sigh of relief and feel part of the accumulated tension dissolve. In search of that reassurance that would make restful rest, before leaving they had once again observed the face of the carousel leader but this time, despite his efforts, his hesitant gaze had revealed a lack of answers.
Tonight they would enjoy returning home, feeling safe and yet estranged, as if they had come back from a long journey. In the meantime, expert technicians and guardian angels would have worked silently on the new gear that would allow the wheel to start spinning again the next day and to return to real time to flow again. Whether it would work or not, no one could yet know. So they had no certainty but they were convinced of one thing, of all: going forward meant not looking back.
At least for that night they had decided to take their minds off what had happened and above all not to create expectations for the new phase to come. Upon awakening, brought the conscious mind back to lost lucidity, each person had begun to prepare for this new beginning as in any self-respecting first day. Everyone faced the situation in their own way: there were those who ran hastily to their cabin with a fearless, probably reckless manner, those who did not feel ready for a climb that left so many uncertainties and finally those who, despite harboring doubts, were convinced of having to take courage with both hands driven by the need to want to go forward, to restart the carousel, for the collective good. After all, ‘he who stops is lost’ goes a popular saying.
Beyond the personal experience of each one, there was common agreement with respect to the need to feel more protected, claiming by right measures that would make every ascent and descent less risky: here then a harness and protective gloves would have made the movements habitual certainly less quick and easy but at the same time safer. It was not easy to determine how best to behave, how much to relax and how much to remain alert; Beyond the primordial fears related to one’s own survival and that of loved ones, the doubt that the structure of the wheel would no longer return to the stability of the past continued to peep into everyone’s mind.
All these thoughts, however, assumed secondary importance for those who had awaited the return to freedom as the docking of a lifeline to escape an inner discomfort, amplified out of all proportion in that golden prison, or the necessary tolerance of painful and deleterious neighborhoods: to be made free again, this was the only real new chance for them all.
Days went by and people without realizing it were adapting more and more to their new reality, with patience and resilience. Surely getting back on the road, with the shared sharing of all, had helped to remove inertia and a sense of loneliness but, objectively, much had been made possible by the reflections matured in those long days and by the awareness reached on how everything can suddenly change without warning. , on the importance of being able to stop, to be able to observe one’s life and read, with different eyes, dysfunctional dynamics by now consolidated and groped to produce a real change.
After all, isn’t this the wise secret of life, to be able to tolerate the uncertainty and find the courage to question oneself?