this accomplishing fountain-jet that surges to us as
has traveled through aqueducts—in order, for our sake, to
(Rainer Maria Rilke, The Sonnets to Orpheus, appendix, VI)
Late in the day, late in the turning year, we walked down from the high road where the bus had put us off, down to the village called Pondel. There were no shops or cafés, no one in gardens or fields, in doorways or the few narrow streets, no children, not even dogs. Only a single copper-colored rooster poked up startled from behind a stone trough as we came past it just before the houses began.
As we got deeper into the village, though, following the main road around the corner of a dark old barn, I began to notice intermittent glints of light or movement in some of the upper windows facing the mountain across a steep wooded gorge. Looking closer, I could make out a figure (maybe a woman)—and another—and a third—looking out from the windows with binoculars, fixed without moving on the wooded slope across the long high Roman bridge. (There it was.) The leaves were beginning to turn there, at the end of September, and the last light hung a little yellowed too over the valley before starting to pale into dusk. But what were they watching? What was it they could see that I could not?
I felt how far I was from home, how far from understanding where I had come. And yet I felt a strange sense of belonging, finally, of being at the heart of things, as if I might now simply walk across the ancient long-dry water channel of this aqueduct into my true life.
—Christie, excerpt from a piece that is still all beginnings
image: Christie B. Cochrell, Il Pondel