Katarína Varsiková

Birds, Books, Fire

Swallows flying swiftly across the deep blue sky, many of them, producing the high-pitched and still soft sound that can bother nobody. Not like pigeon cooing that some like and others hate, unlike harsh calls of crows. The roofs are red, the colour combo of the Mediterranean in Brussels.

Earlier in the week I drove Alex to a coach and a therapist outside the town; Alex navigating us on the smartphone, calm and poised, wearing two layers of clothes more than me, because his energy is cooler, he takes heat without any apparent disturbance. I have been learning to live with the strong inner fire and learning to cope with the hot season, to the point I now enjoy its strange discomfort, like when one lets a beloved person coming close, with smells, senses and all, knowing it may be too much, but it is a gift, such a gift.

The road takes us to a hamlet outside the town of Nivelles, the house is on the hill, overlooking Wallonie countryside. What the heck is Wallonie? I would ask if I were not living in this part of the world. A stretch of land between Brussels and the frontier to France, now closed. A land of soft sounding names, canals, boulders-remnants of mine digs, villages built in slate. Anyway, back to the hill, and the house. It lies on the Compostela route, we see church and monastery structures, fields with cows, meadows with horses, there are houses, sheds, barns, outhouses, a human-touched landscape.

The therapist we come to is a well-built, rusty hair and skin guy Alex knows and I let the two of them do whatever it is that comprises this therapy. I am not anymore overwhelmed by different body-energy techniques, I have tried a lot of them. For me, they are tiny keys or tiny lights, each brings a shift, even if a very subtle one. The guy, Phillipe, indicates a path to the river – I can take a walk in the meanwhile. And of course, welcome to take their dog, a sweet intelligent golden retriever. She walks beside me in the warm afternoon light, content, non-demanding, a perfect companion. At some point I have to take off the sandals not made for this kind of a road, sharp little pebbles piercing painfully into my bare feet, but I do not mind, there is the wind, the dirt, the dog, the river, more a brook to Slovak standards, and the freedom of being. A few kilometres from here there are shopping strips, highways, roundabouts, outskirts and all the urban noise, but here, a Viking legend for a moment. My companion would like to have a dive, but, first, the owner told me not to let her as she has a cut in her ear done by another dog, second, no chance to get to the water, because it is hedged everywhere. Never mind, her calm eyes say, and for a moment she goes off the path into a cool shade where earlier in the season a tiny canal flew, dried after the weeks of this again dry spring.

Some rain will come, it will one day or night, patience. She cools herself off, and we continue. When I drop her leash, she takes it and carries it herself. We come back early, the dog is coming home. Me? I lie down into a lazy bag on the lawn and muse: these guys have all I long for, open spaces, animals, a spacious cool house. I love my urban reality, so this is a kind of complement tone for my soul. A silent gratitude I have known this so intensely. The garden has a circus display: an old iron bed, a cart on wheels, again, it is me, part of me.

“We have elderly horses here, it is a kind of an old-horse-home,” Phillipe says later when they emerge on the threshold with Alex. Alex with an all-knowing smile. When leaving, I see the lady of the house: she is standing on the edge of the meadow, forehead propped against the long nose of a horse, both silently immersed in each other´s presence.

The sacredness of touch. Touching the soul by touching the present moment.

Reading: The Dutch House by Anne Patchett. Recommended by my friend Emma. Many years ago, we met over books (and wine) and the conversation continues. Often, many miles lie between us, nevertheless, we never lost each other. The novel is a subtle narration of Danny whose mother walked out of the family. Danny´s special bond with his sister Maeve, the magnetic spell of the old house where they used to live, inner callings and attachements, parenthood, family ties…Woman leaving behind her children is a strong myth. How can any woman cut off the strong string of motherhood? The narration is charged with beyond the words energy. The author, Ms. Patchet, co-owns The Parnassus Books in Neshville, Tennessee. Here is the author´s website:


With the Writing Brussels group, we have created a sequence of stories around a quarantine clandestine bar on the Avenue Couronne in Brussels. Here is one by Gaelle, catching the atmosphere of the C-experience at the essence – some time long ago, our reality was denied and we lost the trust in ourselves. But never completely:


Mary Oliver, a poet, also through Emma. I have chosen this one poem, because it has a bird theme and the always fresh theme of starting, starting again:


O autorke Všetky Články

Katarina Varsikova

Príbehy. Ľudia. Joga. Prítomná chvíľa a vedomie, že všetko sa neustále mení.