by Luigi Alfieri
It was a hot and moist day. Suffocating. My father took me into the jungle. Birds sang tired melodies. The cicadas chirped with a deafening clang. From the trees strange roots were hanging, linked to lance-shaped leaves. My old man got to the lower branches, drew one to him. My eyes widened. Among those green tips there was a spot of a disturbing color, between pink and amaranth. It was strong, intense, dizzying, yet delicate, light, almost ethereal. It took all my senses. It filled the view of precise, rounded curves; it filled my nostrils with sweet and lascivious smells, it reminded me to be gentle as velvet, made me think of being able to tease the pads of my fingers with a thousand sensations, it took me to the mouth unknown flavors, it had the sound of silence.
My father took that living and disturbing spot in his fingers and placed it in my hands. For a moment, my legs buckled. “It is an orchid,” he said. “For me it is a magical flower.”
He paused, then added: “To me it is proof that God exists. Look at it, it is perfect. It is absolute perfection. You can fix an orchid for hours and never get tired. And never feeling twice the same emotion. It will inspire serenity, abandonment; Then languor, energy; at one point an irrepressible force, full of mystery; the desire to possess it forever, to make it yours and yours alone; entering its petals, wrap it and get yourself enveloped by her. To lose yourself in its colors, get dismayed forever. “
I held it in my hands with the desire to hold it and the fear of breaking it. I watched her pink-amaranth hue and it seemed to me the color of flesh; I watched her small white spots and they seemed pores. It had my mother’s perfume when I curled up at her side. I was upset, but gently. My father was silent for a while. He looked at my hands with affection. Then he said: “Orchid is a perfect creature, like woman”. The birds were singing, the crickets chirped, the humidity of the jungle was stifling.
Cover: Orchidee thailandesi, fotografie di Luigi Alfieri