The necessary bad guys of the story
22 March 2007
My dear friends,
Tomorrow or the day after (as usual, it will depend on happenstance)
I will leave your “trail” to go to the Great Lakes.
Quite honestly, I must say that this separation will be less “traumatic”
than the others that have accompanied me, perhaps because the
aura of your discovery fades more and more by the day.
Only the sky has remained the same: the “great sky”
with its infinite nuances of blue and pink, a sky that seems too
heavy for the Earth to sustain and that is about to fall down
any minute, a sky whose beauty you want to capture in order to
Stepping back in time to follow what you discovered years ago
has been like living in a daily state of excitement, with a new
landscape behind every bend, a different story concealed in every
glance, and with the desire to stop, to continue no further out
of fear of missing what was being offered to me. Yet I have never
regretted pressing forward. ……..
But don’t think you’re already rid of me! I will sidetrack
you from the “Lewis and Clark Trail” and, with His
Excellency Vitus Bering we will go to visit Leif Eriksson, who
awaits us in the cold of his Greenland to tell us about new adventures.
Then you will come with me again and you will have to put up with
my stories, my encounters and my descriptions, my emotions and
my memories … and much, much more.
With sincere friendship and gratitude,
Francesco de Marzio
PS: Before I left I set aside a couple of bottles
of wine, and when you return to visit me at the country house
we’ll drink them together. I’m really sick of beer.
It is with great pleasure that I have accepted the invitation
of Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to come meet you
in Bismarck. Indeed, this gave me the opportunity to revisit this
place, which was merely a muddy frontier outpost in our era. I
must confess that walking along the asphalt roads neatly lined
with colourful houses, seeing all those churches in a row, and
hearing the incessant clanging of passing trains has left me somewhat
More than once, thanks to my suggestions we took the right fork
in the river, thereby avoiding dangerous rapids or Indian ambushes.
For days and days I kept going to ensure that the path was exactly
the right one, sparing no effort, and it was during one of these
absences that my Indian wife Sacagawea entered the captain’s
tent and … I’d rather not mention any names. Nonetheless,
I was sympathetic to the human drives of a young officer and the
wild nature of a woman whom I was naive enough to marry only because,
that evening, I’d had one too many glasses of cider, and
the requests of her father and brother (two knives, an axe and
four blankets) seemed trifling. A trapper’s nights are long
and cold, and often a fire is not enough to thaw your bones. My
father was right, though, when he tried to teach me to beware
of a fur that’s too cheap, as the defects will emerge sooner
or later … but I wouldn’t listen...
With profound gratitude for your attention in reading my words,
I wish your “expedition” every possible success.