Thinking about Ways by Gabriele Wojtiniak
„Caminante, no hay camino,Antonio Machado: aus “Campos de Castilla“ 1917
se hace camino al andar”
“Wanderer, there isn’t any way,
the way is being created while your walking.“
It was two years ago that I left my flat, donating my furniture to refugees and leaving behind the memories with my sister. Afterward, I set off my way to Chile, without any unnecessary stuff and a quite tin purse, ignoring the doubts meanwhile growing.
But why not? I had taken so often this way, and a got a return ticket in my pocket for the way back, in any case… But what should go wrong?
It was the moment to reach my goal – after so many roundabout ways.
I remember that I always wanted to leave. Already as a child, I dreamed myself into an exciting life, far from the direct, determinate and trodden ways, where the road signs show which route to take. I decided to discover the big, wide world, not having any idea that anybody could put stones on the ways.
There was that song: “Tell me, where you are and which way you go.” I was singing it as well for a long time and with enthusiasm, because I was too stupid to get the subtle warning behind the notes not to go astray – to God, to yourself, to knowledge or even to liberty, by land, water or air. When I got it finally, I was already moving along the edge of the way, til other songs came along, as it was “The way is long… and not full of roses”, what the Chilean emigrants were singing about their failed experiment making a revolution by democratic way.
Meanwhile getting to understand the failures and contradictions, I arrived at a crossroad.
And now? Turning around, right, left, closing the eyes and keep going directly?
I tried the tactic of short ways: step by step ahead in roundabout ways? Where to?
To destiny? But which one? Was there a way leading towards, or was it?
Without companions, I would not have reached it. They showed me the way into the future. Meanwhile, I didn’t check that they were on the way back to the past.
When I was at least away, had left my homeland with my daughter and some suitcases, on a warm day in August meanwhile nobody had an idea yet that there would lead all ways everywhere very soon, I felt free, light and empty. I put beside my cases and my biography and relaxed, like a wanderer, who was tired of so many roundabout ways. It took a quite long time that Chile came back into my head. There were friends, there my daughter could find – if not her father, but a bit of her identity. Way to home?
After my first visit, I did not know anything anymore. I displaced my childhood dream, and instead of discovering the world I started dancing in the new freeways.
Who said, that the life couldn’t be the life a simple party, a carnival through the years without any obligation to plant a tree, to write a book or the get a son. Didn’t we take our presence too serious on this planet?
I didn’t have any doubts that my daughter who was always my best companion on the way, would dance on the same volcano. I need a long time to get that she wasn’t looking for adventures as I did, but for a bungalow along the road where she could stay.
I was moving from one wrong way to the other. Or not? There are leading many roads to Rome, isn’t it?
I was on the road in Costa Rica, between banana plantations and refugee homes for girls, I got the message that my mother had passed away. After the funeral, my daughter did not want to go away from her grave. I feel still a pain because a lot of things weren’t said and weren’t forgiven. The way did not end yet.
Sometimes, during the coming years, I thought that I would be running away from myself. Meanwhile, my daughter was on the way to her roots, from Asia via Australia to South America, from the Monks in Laos to the Maori in New Zeeland and the Aymara of Bolivia. But then she was stopped by sickness and had to take the way back. Finally, she ended up in Spain, in a small house on the edge of the way, in company of love. She got to understand earlier than me that life is always leaving the way for finally still coming back to the right one.
I went on moving on my ways from A like Afghanistan to U like Uganda, crossing the Balkans to Syria and Jordan; to the banks of Ganga, Mekong, Nile, and Wolga, uncounted in trains, passing borders, and bridges, from India to Pakistan and from Iran to Turkey. I crossed Vietnam from the north to the south and Malaysia from west to east, often returning back to Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.
With excellent pioneers and companions at my side – and guardian angels of all the religions who led me on secret ways along the attempts, earthquakes and other disasters. There were so many ways, more similar to a pattern than showing a logical way. It t did not go always well, the roads had been difficult and sometimes dangerous. Sometimes I was crying desperately, asking myself on which ways I came there, to places where I never wanted to be. But when people landed me a hand and showed me their confidence, I got it, that those were my ways, on which I changed every day my image of the world and learned about humility. But I also get to understand that it’s not possible to go the way together with others, maybe sometimes to the next cross.
I also returned to Chile, again and again, losing and leaving friends, meanwhile, others came along the way. I tried to repair strings, already cut for a long time, discovering that most of them had never existed. My traces were everywhere, but they got lost in the past. I didn’t want to recognize that I was just in the same way.
At least, two years ago, it ended between the colorfully painted walls of Valparaiso, one of the mystic cities of this world, where you can look from the hills into the infinity.
I did not belong here and to them. I was in the wrong way, ignoring my destiny.
Around five months I behaved like a wanderer waiting for somebody or something.
Then I went back, directly, and since then I have the feeling, that everything was okay and is o.k. And that probably I will never arrive. Nowhere. On any way.
But I know that I will be welcome always.
After almost two years the memories have their place again in a new flat which I don’t like very much because there are signs of the past all around the corners, I try to ignore them until finding out if there is another way. Meanwhile, I am building bridges for them and with those who came here on their roads, giving them the feeling that they belong here until they can go back home.
I will continue going away. Maybe very soon on the path of St. James or in the Toscana or to Lisbon or to visit my Spanish grandchildren, or to paradise in Colombia or into the Atacama desert o to the magic Cape Town.
Or at least to Poland. I had never been en that place from where one of my grand grandfathers started discovering the world, coming back again and again for continuing his way, ready for living his dream.