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Once Only, Only Once

Lima, 2016

The Trees of Rome (extracto)


Have you noticed how the trees above the riverbanks of Paris differ from those above the riverbanks of Rome? Both start off above their somewhat similar retention walls, though I shall return to why the Roman ones are better. The Parisian ones grow straight upward, their trunk and all their branches, up. They look en garde, like overly anxious children allowed to play soldiers under the sympathetic gaze of their parent’ friends. It is a sign of naïvity to have chosen the look of those trees as such. I say naïvity because of this: the retention wall has already completed the work. So the trees just mimic, pointlessly, their superior stone brothers. Look at Rome’s. In Rome everything is better. The river looks clearer, not the Amazonian muddy brown of the Seine, it flows slower, calmer. The wall is taller and it tilts inside as it rises. Its stones are older, blackened here and there by time. And the trees above it display none of the redundant rigidity of the French ones.

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