Day 5 – Observing Nature

Written by Valts Rozentāls

Sometimes you must take time and sometimes that means that you should seek new experiences. Humans have always attempted to manipulate time and dreamed of time machines – to get more time out of their finite lives. Unfortunately, we do not (yet?) possess such powers, but there is trickery which involves our own minds. Just go back and think about your days as a kid, did they not seem much longer? I surely remember that I had long days filled with many adventures in my childhood. Then, somehow, the days speed up, they go by quicker. This is the phenomenon of new and old experiences. If all we get are the same experience, our perception of time speeds up, if we gain a new experience, it slows down. So, strangely enough – we can bend time, at least our perception of it. Once we wake up from the dream that is new experiences we are living – we must return to reality, much like the old folks’ stories the grandparents tell their grandchildren. When the clock hits midnight, you must return to who you were before. But we are still in the dream, our time is still slow.

This beep again. It seems that the tiring days are starting to get to us. Observation – I am not alone, but I know that I am the one who must keep the spirits high. There always must be someone who brings the energy when it is lacking. This makes the people wonder – why do you have it? I do not… but I do as I had it, and it comes to me. This is one lesson the youth should learn; everything begins from within. Every day there’s practice. Do we always want to do it? No. Do we have to? Yes. Do we always have energy for it? No. Can we push ourselves to find it? Yes. So, we move out, we step on the basketball field, in the garden of “Székelykapu Panzio”. Local players join us in our daily meeting with our favorite activity – the one that brings us all together – playing basketball. We start with some light fitness warm-up and stretching. Nobody can stay asleep while doing jumping jacks, mountain climbers and burpees. Blood is pumping and even the sleepiest ones are wide awake. We proceed to work on the skills we have been developing all week long.

Breakfast, free time to play some ball (generally or 1on1 tournament) and prepare for the horse carriage ride. Today we are going to ride around local fields, up on the hills. Just right after lunch three horse carriages await us just outside the “Székelykapu Panzio” to take us up the hill. This is some action of about two hours but seems much longer. Our ride through the village attracts curious locals who want to see where all this noise is coming from. Smiles and waving hands somehow bring joy to every one of us. In a short time we find ourselves surrounded by fields and woods. The sun is shining bright and we feel the rays of the sun heating up our skin. The trees in the distance seem very welcoming, their shade provides a refreshing refuge from the bright sun. I can vividly imagine taking a good book and seeking solitude on a hot summer day in the shadows of the trees.

We keep moving on the pre-determined path through the fields. At one point we encounter a local shepherd with his loyal guard dog and bunch of sheep and goats. This is an older gentleman and it seems he is also an experienced one. He is walking with a stick in each hand, one could only assume – this is the result of the substantial days of work he has put behind him over the years. The Sheepdog looks at us full of suspicion. To him we are only a disruption of his daily discipline – keeping the herd safe of wolves and bears. This is his mission; this is what he has been taught to do – to keep the herd safe. It would not even matter that we are nothing like a wolf or a bear, if we come near the herd – we become a threat thus his target. This is something no one of us is willing to try out. So, we remain seated on our carriages and keep moving. At some point we must lower the electrical fence and change the direction to the hill. I am sitting in the last carriage of three, so our coachman must close the fence after us. This required him getting off the carriage, closing the fence and getting back on. Well, but it seems he wants to save some time by keeping the carriage moving. At first he just wanted to put the reins on the bench we were sitting on, but then he glanced at me, sitting right next to him and decided it could be a good and safe idea to give the reins to a stranger. Well, from a city as far as he should be concerned. I did grow up in the countryside, but never had anything to do with horses. Long story short – I’ve got the reins in my hands, the man jumped off the carriage to close the fence and the horses kept moving. Of course, at the same time the two carriages right before us stopped moving as their respective coachmen figured out – hey, let’s stop as the man from our carriage must close the fence. Therefore – two carriages standing and our kept moving out. Once the fence was closed, our coachman turned around and understood his mistake – reins were in the hands of somebody who had absolutely no idea how to handle the situation. Luckily for us, the Coach reassessed the situation and realized that there was only one valid option – to stop the carriage. The other two almost crashed in the carriage before us and the second one would have rolled down in the ditch on our left. This is where all the experience I was able to gather from films I have previously watched comes in handy. I did proceed to pull both reins simultaneously to bring us to a halt. Hearing “ooh”, “uuh” and “aah”s which ended in happy cheering – it seemed that I have had done a decent job. The coachman was also happy, jumped on the carriage and we continued our journey up the hill.

Fifteen minutes later we reached the top of the hill and made a short stop to enjoy the view. On our left we could see Bögöz and on our right, a bit further away – Székelyudvarhely. The shepherd we met at the bottom of the hill had also made his way up, he took the shorter route – perks of moving on foot. After taking time to take some nice photos and absorb the beauty of the area and its nature, it was time to continue the ride and get back to the village. The journey down the hill was faster and shorter than upwards, it seems that we took the longest route to get up and coachmen saved the shorter one to get back down.

The evening practice was cut short due to a storm which seemingly just appeared out of thin air. One downside of living in between mountains – you never see the storms coming, the clouds just get over the top of the hills and within a few hours you find yourself surrounded by rain and thunder which roars after the lighting strikes. There is one upside though – it is easier to breathe as the hot air fades away for the night. We sleep tight.

One would say that this day was not as busy as all others, not as full. We should observe how we look at things, just as we see a room full of stuff, it is empty of space. Also, a day which is not full of action is full of time. Time we can use however we want and that is part of the game – having fun, slowing down, enjoying the ride. As Nadine put it – just as our bodies need to take a rest day from all the activities, our minds also need rest days. I think she is quite right on this one. Especially when we are afraid of missing out and not delivering – take a rest day, slow down, enjoy the ride. Sometimes even nature takes care of that and sends a storm to save us from ourselves.

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