Within the house my eldest son is singing. I have slipped away at dusk for just a moment… I am outside on the balcony, alone. There is the dull roar of traffic faintly below and also waves lapping gently against the shore of the lake.
Birds are chirping and cicadas chatting, but not in the intense way they sang two hours ago during the oppressive heat of the day. Their call now sounds a little furtive, “It’s night, It’s night, It’s night.”
The sun is busy setting behind a majestic forested mountain to my right and I can see the silhouettes of countless tiny feathered creatures surfing on the air above me. They look so free, as though they are having a party in the fading light.
Is it a party? Perhaps they are simply doing what they were put on this planet to do. They have wings, and so they fly.
The red bricks of the balcony feel warm beneath my feet, even though the air around my shoulders is growing cool. These bricks soaked up the full heat of the day and are now transferring just a bit of its magic now into my bare skin. Tiny mosquitoes are starting to swarm around me. I am very popular with mosquitoes, it seems. I must smell like one delicious dinner! Still, despite the whirring onslaught I’ll stay out just a bit longer to enjoy the eventide.
In front of me, an ancient ruined fortress rises strikingly from the lake not far from the seaside town of Cannero Rivera. Tonight its ruins host a thin crane rising like a toothpick from their midst. (Are the Borromeo's remodeling after all this time?) That modern mechanical innovation appears fragile and delicate standing next to the thick, roughly hewn stone walls.
This fortress, or at least its foundation, first rose from the rocky outcrop in the early 1500s and has lasted there for over five hundred years. It was built, no less, on the razed of five allegedly evil brothers. (Bloodthirsty pirates? Thieves? Sadists?) Who can really say... some counter the legend with an alternate story - that the Mazzarditi were leaders of a great but failed rebellion against the Duchy of Milan. Either way, these walls have seen the death of generations, literally. So many wars!
Nearly two hundred thousand days have risen upon it with bright sunshine, sometimes closing with violent storms. Yet here it continues to grip the rocky sea floor.
Is the building alive? I envision it with deep, magical roots that perhaps extend into the maw of a molten core beneath the lake. It breathes and shudders as a slowly crumbling testament to the vision and inspiration of brutal, strong-willed men long ago.
At forty-one, I look at my hands. Do I have a castle or fortress left in me to build? What edifice will I leave that perseveres… that withstands the weathering of age? What piece of me will hunker down mid-lake beneath snow, wind, rain and fierce sun and still show the ferocity of its intention; its weight, it’s bones?
Did you like this post from the Years Of Adventure Travel Blog?
If so, feel free to share or re-post!