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Ernesto and the courage to be free
All my thanks go to Ernesto, my beloved little Breton dog who is the real hero of this story. He has never let himself be hurt or conditioned by years of cruelty, languishing in kennels.
Today he lives a life full of joy and happiness with an open heart and a big smile on his chops.
English translation by Eveline Robertson BAHons., MA, MIL.
This story is dedicated to all those whether animals or humans who at some point during their lives have felt abandoned, feeling a loss of self esteem and a loss of points of reference.
Sometimes one’s inner being is shaken and so a million questions we all too often cannot answer arise from this state of nothingness.
Ernesto came through, Ernesto made it, he managed to answer all the questions and to win the final prize: awareness of self.
We’re nearly there, not long now, I know this bend, now we’re going over the level crossing and then we’ll start smelling the scent of the woods. It’s great, just what I needed, I was really fed up with the boring old walks in the park, all the traffic or even worse the shopping mall. Sometimes there’s a really terrible artificial smell, and what a noise, all those people rushing around like crazy. Most of the time I would rather just stay at home.
Hey,, there’s the old oak tree, I’d recognize it among a thousand, so majestic, sometimes when I look at her I get a feeling of serenity, as if Iwere in some way protected. Maybe it’s a reference point for me: while she is here I know I can’t get lost, in some way she represents a safe familiar place, a bit like home.
Oh yes, There it is, my favourite little wood
Hey, stop , open the car door, quick…. Yes, OK I’ll calm down but be quick!.
Oh yes! How wonderful it all is! Yes,..yes…yes… look at this lovely meadow and just smell all the scents! Oh wow! I can’t stand still for happiness. Come on, let’s go? Let’s go for a run together? Don’t you want to?
Aren’t you happy to be here?
Why do you look like that? What’s up?
Are you tired?
I’ll just let you relax for a bit and go off on my own and I’ll be back soon. See you later!
Freedom! Yes… At last!
The grass in my face! The feeling of running for ever! I adore this wood, I have loved it right from the first time I came here, it’s full of scents; I can smell the odour of the damp soil, the soft grass under my feet and in the distance the murmur of the stream makes me feel happy. I like to run on the long meadow, the wind in my eyes making me feel alive, but what I like best are the scents: they inebriate me, they take me back to a primaeval state, they wake my senses, my instincts, I feel my body getting stronger, I feel I could run forever.
And at the end of the run nothing is better than these trees. The treetops are fantastic, the earth beneath them is always so damp and soft and welcoming and the coolness beneath their branches seems to regenerate me.
I love to rest here getting my breath back, looking round for anything interesting moving in the grass or smelling some scent again.
Yes, here it is, I’d know this scent anywhere, it’s coming from the stream.
I knew I’d get another chance sooner or later!
Let’s just see if I can creep up any closer…
Every time I try it flies away before I can even see where it is exactly. But even when it’s flying it is still spectacular. It is really exciting to see it swooping and looping in the sky, losing oneself in its aerial acrobatics which it does with no apparent effort.
Sometimes I almost envy it whilst I am watching but at the same time I don’t really: its flight is so proud it makes you respect it, a form of respect innate to the beauty one is observing. It’s one of those things I don’t envy but can only admire because this is the best way to enjoy it.
OK, I’ll have a go.
I creep nearer very slowly, I mustn’t make any noise at all, quietly!
I can smell his odour much more intensely!
I must keep calm, I mustn’t get too excited this time round, slowly, one muscle at a time, slowly…
Shall I go now?
No! I must hold it, I’m still too far away, I must stay calm or I’ll blow it again.
Slowly, take it easy, what’s the hurry?
Yes! He’s so near I can feel it! Smelling his scent so strongly makes me so excited I can hardly bear it.
Don’t lose it, don’t lose it!
It’s as if an immense force is pulling me…
Don’t lose it!
Oh God it’s moved!
It must have heard me!
Freeze… I must freeze, I hold my breath… I am almost there… what’s the hurry?
OK I try to take another step closer, slowly, one muscle at a time, one at a time…
It’s great to feel my muscles so strong, feel that inner fire… it’s a feeling I will never get used to…
I’ve done it, I can sense his movements!
Maybe this is it, maybe this is the moment when I should break cover…
OK, 1, 2, …
Oh no! Why, why didn’t it work, he was so close and now he’s flying away…
What a sight! I could watch him for hours, enchanted, with my heart in my mouth.
He sun is going down, I should probably start getting back to our meeting point. I’m so excited that I can hardly see where I am.
There, I knew it, I’m lost!
It’s not here! But I thought this was the place. This is the place I came to with my humans Roberto and Martha! But they aren’t here! Could I have made a mistake? I’ll try the other entrance, near the pond, I could have got confused, I often get it wrong… though I don’t remember coming by the pond. Anyway, I’ll give it a try!
Nothing, they aren’t here! They aren’t here either!
It’s very busy round the pond today, there are two new couples of mallards. I would have noticed that if I had come this way: Their scent is unmistakeable.
I was right. We came down the other way. How can’t I have seen them?
I better move fast, they must be getting very worried now.
I don’t know what’s going on, where are they? The car was just over here! You can see the tire tracks and I got out right here. I can smell Roberto’s scent. So…? Maybe something’s happened? Maybe they had to get back home, maybe baby Flavio is poorly and Mrs Berardi has called them.
Of course! That’s what it is.
I’ll never change. I went too far! There’s nothing I can do about it I just get carried away!
I love getting mixed up in all these delicious scents.
But what shall I do now? Home is a long way away. I can’t walk there, it’s so far away that I go to sleep in the car every time we come here. Probably I should just wait here. I’ll sit down here and wait! And I’ll take a rest, what a run, what excitement, what a wonderful day!
Oh, heavens I’ve slept so long!
It’s already evening!
Have I really been asleep so long?
What about Roberto? And Marta? They haven’t come back!
I knew I should have stayed awake, I could have gone to meet them, they might have come back but couldn’t remember exactly where we stopped.
It’s funny though! Roberto is always so precise!
No, Flavio must be sick, maybe he’s got that nasty cough again, he’s been coughing a lot lately.
I’ll never change, if only I hadn’t gone so far I’d be at home with them now.
But what am I going to do? Where can I go? It’s getting dark and I think I can hear thunder.
Perhaps I should look for somewhere to wait. OK and if they come to get me and they can’t see me? They’ll be very worried about me all alone in the middle of the night in a thunder storm, I better just stay where I am.