Pigeon valley

 
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⁵ A postcard from the kiosque (facing the bus stop on the main square). 

I had forgotten my notebooks in my previous host’s house. I could either walk along the highway or go through the valley. An overcast night, but the highway is bland and forlorn (strange things happen along the midnight highways in the province)  — I chose the valley.  
No sound accompanies me to the doors of the village; curtains closed, doors locked. (In the same street, the Korean BBQ had stood eerily empty and unlit.) 
I enter the dirt path —  I am not used to such silence and to the darkness: strange figures lurk in every stone and observe. I must sing to myself to sense company in the silence; the surroundings turns the song into a hum, which in turn transforms into unsteady breathing. Those crooked cliffs behind the bends — 
The clouds part, suddenly: it is light, full of sound. The neon moon shines through the rocks, their gaze calmed. My footsteps continue, suddenly nimbler. The road zig-zags finally upwards (no sign of wild dog packs), up to my previous host’s village. 
Knock. Just once. 
            Maybe one more time. Knock. 
A low rustle. Door opens. 
The house is being renovated; the workers were to sleep on the piled mattresses where I had stayed the previous nights. Owner and workers were drinking tea in the living room. I joined them. 
We didn’t have much to say to each other. We drank tea, in peace and with little other expectation. 

Pigeon valley used to be inhabited by men living in a very close relationship to pigeons. In those days, the majority of men could fly. The habit slowly died out. Today, wings appeared only rarely on the  newborns' backs. 

I left the house and turned back towards the valley. 

 

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