What home, what duty, what love we left behind - it would not have been possible for us to say it ourselves. We were nothing more than two wanderers at that moment, two wanderers between forgetting and not knowing, riders on foot, knights of the abandoned ideal. Yet in this, as well as in the unchanging sound of the crushed leaves and the constant rough sound of the unsettled wind, was the reason of being for our farewell and our return, because since we knew neither the how of the way nor the why, we did not know whether we came or went. And around us, with its sadness, the sound of the leaves falling apart, which we did not see falling, nor knew where they were falling, put the forest to sleep.
Fernando Pessoa: Livro do Desassossego - The Book of Disquiet

The text by Fernando Pessoa reminds me of a wandering I did some years ago on a damp gray day in the wooded hills somewhere in northeastern Switzerland. I took photos on the way - as I always do when I’m wandering on my own ways. Towards the evening, into the twilight, into the beginning darkness of the night, I was walking on narrow paths in a forest, where I met no human soul other than my own, I was thrown back on myself, so I started talking to myself.
And that’s how I imagine Pessoa’s wanderer as well: wandering alone, into the beginning darkness (although it is "not dark" in Pessoa's forest - "an undetermined sun had to exist somewhere").
Who are the "two wanderers" in Pessoa's text? "We went separately and united at the same time on the wildly winding paths in the forest. (...) No one wanted to know about the other, and yet none would have gone on without the other. (...) Who were we? Two beings or two forms of just one being? We didn't know, nor did we ask. (...)"
The longer I wandered, the further the past and the future moved away from me, and the further the pure present of my movement expanded into the unknown landscape, which became increasingly unreal due to the increasing twilight, and finally everything fell into one.

© Fredi Hüberli

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