returning home, and returning home in early autumn - impossible not to fall prey to the sweetness of melancholia, i don't even try not to, supposing that i were someone investing such struggle with meaning (which i am not, i don't know whether fortunately or less so).
back then, in the days of childhood, autumn used to mean diving into a world of distinct tastes and fragrances, a world of jubilation untouched by what i would later learn to call nostalgia: grape juice and fresh walnuts. grape juice from the small vine adorning the front wall of our house, facing the street, and fresh walnuts from the big tree, pivotal like an axis mundi in the middle of our garden. i was not aware then that we were blessed to be allowed to have this small piece of land around the house, even to have a house, when everywhere around us houses fell under the madness of the communist regime, eager to replace them with the grey blocks of flats, the ugliest buildings ever. i would also find out later that our house had finally been included on the black list, the erased area had spread around us like a death wave, at last reaching the point of swallowing us when the revolution came, only months before the fatal blow.
i don't know the name of these grapes in english, for whatever mysterious reason they are called 'ananas' in Romania (meaning 'pineapple', though everybody had yet to see a real pineapple back then). i was fascinated by their dark-bluish colour and by something like fog on their skin, the way breath stains a glass in winter or haze seems to remain attached on the hair of the beloved, on a frosty day. as everybody else privileged enough to have a garden, my father used to make wine in a big barrel which would be brought out of the cave weeks before the wine ritual and left in the yard, filled with water, to our delight (among other games, we could bathe in it, on really hot days). it is a custom still alive now, when good wine is widely available.
i bought these from the market the other day. coming home, i had found the grapevine gone, it had gone dry, my mother said, there are blooming oleanders now in its place, their beauty as sweet and poisonous as every memory is, i said, oh why are you upset, my mother asked, don't you like the new look of the garden and the new light green paint on the walls of the house, and for no reason at all i remembered these lines:
see the world ripple beyond this current.
(I look at you with eyes of oleander)
& in this ocean
a single harp plays a taunting homage.
but i didn't say anything.
upon my tongue of now, this taste of then, forever - a taste of fog and, beyond that, the fragrance of the unspeakable, the silent tune of a single harp.