Armenia & Georgia ● Eyes wide open

Travelling in the Caucasus. Armenia. Georgia. Riding kites and borders. Life easily becomes a beautiful song. From station to station, and from crowd to crowd On top of that mountain, near the Noah’s Ark, and sometimes I dream, because I want to dream. In front of a battere car, flagless, full of melons and watermelons. Standing tall, in running dust, in a section of a world that is torn by torture that that for some took the name of genocide, while for others was only the wind. The Black Madonnas, the rain falling straight on my hands. Some pray, some sing, some dance, some invent new things.

Endless walls that were filled with Saint George’s dragons. Music all over me, and I still remember the scents of short skirted-women with covered heads. A yellow window with coins resting on it as to say, “God, please protect us, and save us, and let us not make the same mistakes because we have become the same mistakes.” Goshavank, and the desert in front of that small wooden church. The lines on beggars’ faces in the cemetery of Surp Grigor Lusavorich, littered with crosses.

The unbelievable petroglyphs, and the sky under Zorats Karer where I hoped that whoever was above the clouds could stop shaking their heads at last, and could remind us how to feel good, down here. Saint Gregory The Illuminator’s well. I walked down the centuries and stories of people who have hooked alphabets, and every trampled dream manages to get up again and reminds me of what I am, really, deep down. My passport reminds me that I’m Italian, but the Caucasus thunders, in memory now, and in time then, and makes me realize that I was a bit American, Australian,Sarajevite, Mongolian, Siberian. I went so far away.

My life resounds from Selim Caravanserai on Selim Pass. It tells me that the path of those who live the journey is framed by train tracks or on ship and planes trajectories. Tbilisi, Gori, Stalin’s city, and then the Cathedral of Svetiskhoveli, where it seems Jesus’ robe rests forever. Stalin and Jesus on the same land and within the same borders. The ancient city of Uplistsikhe and then Vardzia where I met an army of chubby lizards under the frescoes and share sun-beaten stones with the moral force of out-of-time hermits.

Under Svaneti’s Towers I spend some time talking to a man, who I later find out was the main painter of the village. He speaks in Georgian to me, and the only word that I can understand inthat 15-minute-monologue is “Einstein”. I am happy because, among thousands of other things he said and I couldn’t understand, he said that if one cannot marvel anymore is dead, because his eyes are closed.

My eyes are wide open.

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