On this particular day I was tired, cold and couldn’t get myself to write one line . I looked out my bedroom window and found the greens and yellows of the autumn tree dragging me out. I grabbed my winter vest, pair of worn out shoes, camera and walked out the door. A cold autumn breeze ran up my back causing me to quickly zip up my vest. I walked away from the main road and towards the sun.
Common on my road, I saw one of my neighbors on a cartuza heading home after a day’s work in the field. I waved, took a picture and continued walking. Like many days like this one, I wasn’t really sure where I was headed.
I walked along the unpaved road for about ten minutes until I decided to get off it and make way through the broken fence that gave me just enough room to walk through it.
The pillow of orange leaves spread across the ground welcome my curiosity. I made way to one of the taller trees and took a few pictures.
The landscape created by the Parang Mountains, a range of the Carpathian Mountains, is one of my favorite things to look at on my walks to and from school. On a clear day like this one I can see the highest mountains in this area, Papusa and Mojoro. I sat and enjoyed the view of Novaci.
In the distance two horses caught my attention, so I crossed another fence and made my way in their direction.
Before I could get close to the horses, a pleasant surprise peaked over the hill. A herd of sheep, my estimation around 70 of them, were clustered in one area.
The shepherd, nowhere to be found, must had been off gathering other sheep I thought. I sat on a small hill where I kept my eye on the horses and enjoyed the company of the herd. In complete serenity, I laid back on the grass and looked up to the clear sky. How I wished there was at least one cloud to make out animals. But for now, I had nothing to think about but the grass on my back and the light wind over my face. I closed my eyes and played with the grass between my fingers. I wondered off to think about my life then and now, typical of me, but was brought back to the hilltop by the nicker of the horses.
When I set back up, I noticed a small red object moving on the grass a few meters in front of me and before I could blink I realized it was the shepherd. He was sleeping next to two dogs and near a plum tree. I set on the hill and watched as he tossed and turned on the grass. After a few minutes I guess he decided to get up, put his boots on and slowly, almost unwilling, he reached over to his left and picked up his stick that helped him up. He said something to the dogs that I couldn’t make out, maybe something along the lines of “hey, our nap is over lets move these animals” or ” the faster we get up the less we’ll think about sleeping”. But I won’t really know. Without noticing me ,he leaned down, picked up his backpack and took one step after the other towards the herd.
I too got up, and walked over to him. His lived skin and worn out clothes welcomed me with a warm smile. Immediately, I knew this had happened to him before. His poise and calmness told me so. 67 year old Ion Nicu was looking after 87 sheep, to which he told me wasn’t very easy. The day starts at 5am and ends at 7pm, and with no company but his animals, I understand why a nap would be a good option.
We talked about politics and how life used to be and ,maybe for him, not so different than now. Just a common subject among most of us, reminiscing about the time that was that we can’t get a hold of anymore.
Nicu didn’t carry a book or a newspaper in his backpack as I first assumed, he was illiterate. Instead, his bag was filled with his day’s food.
Nicu called over the sheep and said “sure you can take a picture”. Surprised that he would suggest it before I could ask, I stumbled to get my camera out. He spoke softly to his herd as they surrounded him immediately. After snapping a few pictures, he ordered his sheep to start walking and with that our conversation ended.
With the day almost over, I headed over to a tree and set there some more. Like Nicu, I too reminisced about the year that had gone by in Romania. All the ups and downs, the friends, students, celebrations and seasons.
A beautiful sunset now took over the blue sky, and I closed my eyes and took a nap myself.
My nap wasn’t very long, the cold wind that was coming in woke me up ten minutes into it. I came back home still tired,cold and had nothing to write ,just a couple of pictures to store away. Though, I’m glad I found them today.