Norway, August 2016
To the North Cape (Scherzo con moto)
Friday the 12th of August, 5 in the morning. I camped in the wild 20km away from the Cape. I’m getting out of my tent, it’s cold, the pale luminosity that shines here all night long is richened with a few reddish colours in the Levant, I can see some blue sky, flocks of clouds are shaking themselves and stretching in the whole ether’s width, the wind is blowing, but so little compared to the day before. In the distance, cliffs of the end of the world all ginger and golden in the boreal dawn, plunge their sediments and rocks in the immersed precipices of a glacial Arctic, and I can see, far away, minuscule, a white globe, a lunar sphere, made of men’s hands, detaching itself slightly above the horizon. Never will I forgot those few hours of sleep, interrupted with impatient awakenings, at midnight, at 3 a.m, that olympian air beating against my sleepy face when I would wake up and walk on those lands to which at last tranquility had been given back, after a storm that seemed at present in myself contained. And this departure at daybreak, to break through the last pass still separating me from the North Cape.
(Rinforzando e furioso)
Yesterday night, washed out by Dantean conditions (the Arctic winds winning largely over the shy Croatian Bora and Greek Anemoi Thuellai, though those had, in their time, impressed me by their force), I decided to stop there, after the first pass, where I had been spending all my energy against gusts from the azimuths. Completely slouched before the fury of an invisible Aegir, as if I has been put by mistake in the heart of a Scandinavian Titan’s wind tunnel testing the aerodynamics of its future spaceship, I was fighting with all my strength, pushing the footbike by the side, in downhills, like an insignificant tiny mass of muscles and bones, step after another, to carry on at a 4km/h speed against a wall of air, whipped by its cryogenic slaps. Catabatic winds, when they rise, sweep up low to the ground the rotundities and the peaks of Magerøya, shouting, they throw themselves in the smallest anfractuosity, tumble down reliefs, tackle any thing vaguely standing up, and finally bounce up on the water, speeding heavily, creasing the aquatic cerulean paste in a way that ressemble a dazzling bronze kneaded by the rough fingers of a Völund. Bottom of bays are particularly daunting tasks, balance being the hardest thing to find at the moment one passes the inversion point of the asphalt curve, viscosity of the air reaches records of instability; or yet crossing bridges, or when my rear wheel is lifted and thrown in the storm against my legs. The day after I would learn that a Harley and its conductor were turned down whilst riding.
But, in this broking morning, light is more luminous, silence is a benediction after the stunning howling of the winds, herbs have gained back a dignified and peaceful bend, a few birds are whistling in the peat and the rocks, the celestial vault let again march past its bicolour snapshots at a reasonable pace. I know that a day such as I will live few of them in my life is starting, 20 000 meters lay between me and the northernmost tip of the European continent, a place I vaguely targeted, then more and more precisely, since my reaching Izmir in Turkey 4 months ago, where I launched the long rebound to the North.
Hundreds of time, during the last 9 months, did I proceed to the breaking camp ritual. This morning, each gesture is at the same time ancient and anew, as the determination that led me into the middle of those terminal lands. This day is fraught with all the days spent since my feet are kicking the ground, thousands of times daily. It bears though the fragile authenticity of a premiere, after weeks, months of repetition. I feel an unbounded calm and an oceanic felicity, along with a profound melancholy tightening my heart. For, although pushed by rationalizations and beliefs that soften with a few metaphysical breathings the human condition, I do too obey somehow blindly to the ongoing order of things, to that highly shared instinct that encourages to go on, forwards, through a projection of oneself into the dreamed utopia (ou topos, nowhere) of a commonhood where everyone, and first of all oneself, has at disposal the means to conduct one’s life to its contentment and on one own’s initiative; a projection that puts me thus nearly all the time here and elsewhere, now and before and later, in the flickering knowledge that this rectilinearity of time at first sight essential, is diffracting, in a final sidereal analysis, in a kaleidoscopic figure that one is free to watch and get through over and over again and in any way beyond space and time, with a little distance and training. Soft bitterness for deeply pained am I by that inaudible and yet so complex shivering of the living realm, in the circumterrestrial biosphere (at this moment observed as a white globe in the distance) as thick as one hair, as much as I am dolefully moved by the humble mesure of that biological agitation, the infinite preciosity conferred to its perpetual attempts at elevation, at tearing itself off the clay of determinism, of history, hope that seem to make our species move. Relentlessly, but perhaps not for long anymore.
That moment towards which retrospectively seem to converge all my initiated actions since Minor Asia, has the intensity of the move initiated by the pianist giving a concert when he lifts up, in the silence full of shadow of an audience hanging upon his gesture, an arm that contains all the times he has already played this piece, but also all the positions necessary to the upcoming piece, and perhaps already all the other times he will perform the piece, imprinted as it will be by the manner in which he played them previously, notes, fingerings, successive contractions of the muscles, intuitive coordination and reflexes (so much was it repeated!), all like stocked as a long organic cervical snake, virtually included in its whole in the utter intimate science about the way to get to the last note, one that the interpreter has to visualize in advance without playing any sound ; acquired automatism letting free space to the event of the playing, nowhere else than in the very performance of it, dissipated straight away even as it was hardly seized by an ear and a memory grasping the gaps between sounds, the gaps between kicks, gaps between landscapes, until that summit, that climax, that last pass, that phrase, that ascent, that crescendo, that last rock on which the immaculate circle peaks at, a circle which, in the very smallness of it I’m watching from my promontory, my pianist stool, my scooter board, conceals all the highnesses and efforts supplied by a collectivity of interprets, wanderers, walkers, fighters, who have in their time cleared their path through here, to the borders of the continent, as far as the last octave, and, in the same way that the last note sings, and can long resound, in its turn containing all the notes previously hit, all the piece in its modal foam, then that cliff decorated with an infinite duration whole note, with a forged iron symbol, offers once reached thereby the final contemplation of a polar ocean from which the breaking of the waves at the foot of the globe and reefs will never cease to resonate in my memories, already faraway though they are writing themselves at the moment in each stride and in all strides I’ve not yet kicked to reach the Cape.
At the top of the cliff, under cover in a hall, a luxurious Schimmel grand piano awaits and perdures, offered to whom would want to play the melody of wanderers and players.