In the short afternoons of a Polish winter our gaze entwines into empty foliages and stays trapped there until, with all its force, the lump of night falls onto the world and erases that dry ramification. In the bright nights of a full moon, carefully flowing upon the landscape, the labyrinth of foliages resists and our gaze stays trapped for days. The temptation of leaf-deprived trees is not morbid, we are not attracted to a life that is no more, but to a life that is not yet. The gaze wraps around the cracked bark with the careful gentleness of a parasite taking care of its host. What we don’t see under the bark is not death, but overwintering. In winter the sun moves away from earth and water in the air idles into the slow wriggling of a mist, and even deeper into the icy bark through which the greyed sky glides down foliages. All this liberates the life under the bark from the necessity of growth and seduction. Then the life of trees is the freest one, it takes all possible shapes in the space of winter’s contemplation. When, in a few months, the Sun again gets close to Earth, it will peel the grey sky’s low covering and the landscape will once more gain verticality. Pulled by the sudden swelling of the world, tissues will leak out through the cracked bark of the trees. The seductive flood of greenery will make us scamper across nature. However, only if in these spring wanderings do we run into colour-deprived lagoons, which have been left behind in the sudden withdrawal of winter, will we see how the chlorophyllous traces of vegetation’s offensive do not manage to write out more than “I am a tree”. We will nostalgically remember the dense ramification of a text which, with our gaze, we have been reading for days from the empty foliages that were filling the narrow world of a Polish winter. The pleasure we will then try to evoke is the pleasure of a reader, a fantasy about a book written in an unknown letter containing all possible stories, a book whose impenetrableness is a guarantee of its inexhaustibleness.

© translated by Serena Todesco and Silvestar Vrljić

U kratkim popodnevima poljske zime pogled nam se uplete u prazne krošnje i ostane tamo zarobljen sve dok se na svijet svom silinom ne sruči gromada noći i izbriše tu suhu razgranatost. U bistrim noćima punog mjeseca koje se oprezno slijevaju na krajolik labirint krošanja odolijeva i pogled nam ostane zarobljen danima. Primamljivost obezlišćenih stabala nije morbidna, ne privlači nas život koji više nije, već život koji još nije. Pogled se omata oko raspucane kore s opreznom nježnošću nametnika koji se brine za domaćina. Ono što ne vidimo pod korom nije smrt, već prezimljavanje. Zimi se Sunce udalji od Zemlje i voda u zraku se ulijeni u sporo migoljenje izmaglice i još dublje u ledenu koru kojom krošnjama klizi posivjelo nebo. Sve to život pod korom stabala oslobađa nužnosti rasta i zavođenja. Život drveća tada je najslobodniji, u zimskoj kontemplaciji zauzima sve moguće forme. Kada se za nekoliko mjeseci Sunce ponovo približi Zemlji, oljuštit će niski pokrov sivog neba i krajolik će ponovo zadobiti vertikalnost. Povučena naglim nadimanjem svijeta, tkiva će iscuriti kroz raspucanu koru stabala. Poplava zelenila nas će rastrčati po prirodi. Ali, tek ako u tim proljetnim lutanjima naiđemo na obezbojene lagune zaostale u naglom povlačenju zime, uvidjet ćemo da klorofilni tragovi vegetacijske ofenzive ne uspijevaju ispisati više od “ja sam stablo”. S nostalgijom ćemo se prisjetiti guste razgranatosti teksta koji smo danima pogledom iščitavali iz praznih krošanja koje su ispunjavale skučeni svijet poljske zime. Užitak koji ćemo tada pokušati evocirati užitak je čitača, fantazija o knjizi ispisanoj nepoznatim pismom koja sadrži sve moguće priče, knjizi čija je nepronicljivost garancija njezine neiscrpnosti.

© Ivan Šamija