salvino i piotr

“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” Shirley MacLaine

I went to Carnation. I had to go there. I stood under the shop where four years ago Captain Chicken and Nick Salvino tried to convince me not to go to Fall City. But I did not follow their advice and I went and in very weird circumstances I broke my knee cap. And I still don’t know what would really have happened if I had done what they had asked me to do.

The store was closed. I took a photo, sat on the ground, leaned against the wall and waited. It was hot and windy, completely different from the fall time, when in the thick mist I was wrapping myself in the cobwebs. I fell asleep. I was awakened by a tipsy-looking man. I thought he would know where the Captain Chicken lives. So he did. There was an address on the flyer I had a picture of, but I did not look at it intentionally. I knew that if I was about to find the place, I would find it anyway.

I wandered an hour, maybe two, long enough for any reasonably thinking creature to finally give up, but I am not a reasonably thinking creature, so I was still looking for the place. The funny thing is, that the closer I was to meet Captain Chicken, the more I asked myself: “Why”? What for? Why do I want so much to see him again? I will meet him and then what? What will I tell him? Something like, Do you know that four years ago after our meeting I broke my knee in Fall City? Do you remember how you with your friend tried to convince me not to go there? Do you know that I often thought what would really have happened if I had actually followed your advice and took another way? That I often looked at our photo taken four years ago – with you and me and Nick, and that I tried to get into your eyes? Literally. And you know that in fact I actually came here to do so? I wanted to get into your eyes. It’s not possible? Well, I am just doing it.”

So, I wandered and wandered and could not find it. Once someone said it was two houses away, once that it was closer, once that the house is green, then that it is blue and it can’t be seen from the street. I finally did give up and was cycling back to the town, but suddenly I saw a narrow road going into the forest with two mailboxes close to it and I did not know why but I was sure it was there. And when after a few hundred yards I saw a figure of a wooden man in a hat and a doghouse with a doll inside, then I had no doubt. That was the place.


Nick Salvino recognized me right away, but he seemed somehow frightened. Captain Chicken left the house a moment earlier. He gave me a quick glance, then another, longer and muttered something unintelligibly. The leaves rustled in the light breeze. Something moved in the doghouse. I closed my eyes and jumped. Straight into his pupils. And as I opened it, the Captain had gone. He stayed inside. Inside of me.

– He is tired – said Nick . – Leave him alone, and let’s go back to play with horseshoes.

In a moment I got to know the rules alongside with the players themselves. Captain Chicken had gone and didn’t come back. I joined the party for a while. I don’t know why but I didn’t stay for the night. The most plausible explanation is that nobody suggested it. I was about to say that I came there nearly at the day of my birthday, but somehow I didn’t say more than some silly utterances, and after some time of loitering – I left.

But the birthday was celebrated anyway. The family I met at Nogales were coming back from their holidays from Alaska. We met up in Seattle and they invited me to dinner. A lot of smiles, loads of warmth wards, sharing good energy, with the sea behind the window, and the ocean of memories left behind. Will I have place to put them all when I got silent? Will I ever reciprocate their hospitality? Will I have time to put everything into proper words? Will I be able to express in words what I got from them? A fragment of their lives, a little and tiny very home.

And it was just the beginning. I barely left Seattle, when I met Beth and Ray, who put a birthday candle in a cake for me to blow it up. Then Brain, who gave me a new saddle and invited for fish and chips, then Meilani with her husband who made absolutely delicious pancakes with blueberries for breakfast, and who were about to get to Australia soon for a year or so.

One wish – to be better for the others, to become a better person. Then the world will be better and everything around, too. And to start giving, giving more, taking less, or best – not to take anything anymore, or even refuse. Or take what is offer and then give it away. After all, I have everything, I have more than enough. I have a bicycle; I have the sunset and sunrise almost every day, I have the sky above my head, I have some food and strong legs. Even love goes with me. And when you feel love, you have almost everything. Love. Just a word, but how important, perhaps the most important of all. And yet. It goes, it rises, it hugs me, it rocks me to sleep, touches, whispers. Infinity.


Caje Sukarije


“The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” Anna Quindlen

I was cycling slowly through the park. Rustling leaves hovered in the air somewhere on the edge of the silence and gentle whispers, like the murmur of barely perceived, subtle sounds, audible only inside me. The giant trees grew around, staring at me with their invisible eyes buried among twisted boughs. I was looking at them with my eyes fixed on something lying ahead and I could not escape the feeling that I did not move, but the trees themselves were moving behind me. And I stood still, motionless, as if I had not moved an inch for years, and only the landscape and the sky were going somewhere, going to the place where I was born, where I came from, and the only thing I could do was to stand still, look and wait until everything flowed and there was nothing more than empty, clean, bright sky in which one day I will melt and disappear.

I fell asleep among redwoods, in the silence of the forest, in the darkness of the night, and in the calm of my thoughts. A young guard came in the morning and woke me up, somewhat uncertain what to do, because he took me for a bum who got lost in the grass, and actually the guard wasn’t very mistaken, because in fact, there is very little difference, if any, between me and so many vagabonds I meet on the way.

Funny as it may seem – people in the States (with some exceptions) usually take me as a bum, a professional one; a soret of cyclist, who has neither home nor job nor any prospects of changing his life. I would not have any problems with it (let people think what they want), but that perception has its repercussions in practice.

When I’m looking for a place to sleep in the evenings, people usually greet me with a phrase that resembles Polish “fuck up you dirty bum” (though it is possible to hear also more elaborate and sublime phrases such as “Do not tease my dog because I won’t be able to stop him and he will get you”). I honestly admit that indeed – it was a little frustrating at first because after a year in the countries where people not only willingly allow you to put up your tent in their gardens, but usually invite you for a conversation or even for dinner, I just forgot that not everybody is so cheerful and hospitable as most Latinos.

Surely – I also meet some friendly and hospitable people – so generous, so full of warmth and friendliness, that it seems to be even overwhelming, as it was the case with Marta’s family, where I could take a rest and get a feeling that I found myself at home.

No, I do not blame anybody for anything, and I don’t hold any grudge, far from it. I would even say that I understand those who chase me away from their properties. All in all – they don’t know me, and they want to protect their houses and neighbourhood. And in fact – at the first glance I really look like all those “castaways” I meet. Instead of a car I use the bike, I sleep in a tent, I cycle without a helmet (which seems to be a really distinguishing feature), and I do not wear professional, cycling t-shirts, neither I possess a cult Brooks saddle or even more cult bicycle named Surly. I have a simple bike, even more simple saddle, I collect all plastic bottles and bags, I take coins from the road, in McDonald’s I buy just a coffee, I wash myself in free restrooms, and in the library I do not rent books but I just use free wifi. Finally I often talk to myself and smile a lot. And then I go to pick up wild blackberries.

I have been eating them for a month, putting juicy fruit straight into my mouth, into the palate and the sun and the blue sky under which they grew was pouring inside of me. There are so many of them that I choose only the biggest, the sweetest and the ripest.  

Do you know that there is a separate, scientific study of blackberries named “batology”? It serves “to understand the very complex differentiation of blackberries at the genetic and morphological levels.” So, if there is any batologist among the readers, I have to say that I have no idea how much these California and Oregon blackberries are genetically and morphologically different but they are the tastiest and the sweetest i have ever eaten in mz life. If only I could share their taste with you. But I can’t. It can’t share those blackberries with you. And again that thought – is it possible to share anything at all?

I’m heading north, or maybe I’m not going anywhere, I’m not floating anywhere, neither with the wind nor with myself. I’m just standing there where I am, and the world is fleeing south. The winter is still far away, blackberries grow around me, birds fly in the sky. They hover above, spin in the beat of the trumpet’s sound. I stand in the middle and see how trees approach and whisper, inviting me to dance. They touch me as they turn, attract and tempt until they finally get hold of me, pull me into their dance, faster and faster. I dance.