To know by similarities
Each one imagines the world according to what he/she has known. There is no other way. It is the memories of our experiences that provide the raw material for the formation of ideas. That makes us special, unique, but it also confronts us with a difficulty: we tend to think that what we imagine also has an equivalent in the thought of others.
I was born near the sea. As a child, the sea and I established a friendship that lasts until today. In marine waters I learned to swim, I took out my first fish, I met lovers, I became a man. At times I have distanced myself from the benefits of this large expanse of salt water. But, I always come back to it.
The rule of natural thinking
That everyone knew the sea was the most natural thing for me. I think that until the end of adolescence there was no room in my imagination to think that there were people who did not know it. Ignorance? Maybe. To be less severe, I could say that it was the naive way in which life is seen when we are children. Today, the little I have learned leads me to other conclusions. I have no doubt that it also operated in me, a certain natural impulse to believe that the ideas we think are common.
Perhaps it was because of this way of thinking that I was so impacted by what happened to a rather older aunt. She was about seventy and I was about eleven. She lived in the countryside, in the mountains that mark the boundaries between Lara and Falcón. She was a distant relative, a bit of a stranger for me, who was rarely spoken about in any conversation after a dinner. A relative who was rarely visited for uncertain reasons.
Reality defies thought
One day, my aunt came to visit our house in Caracas, for health reasons I think. To celebrate her arrival, my father planned a trip to the beach, at Macuto. My aunt accepted the invitation without any surprise and with much gratitude. I don't believe that anyone in my family thought at the time that my aunt didn't know what the sea was.
The image has never wanted to leave my memory. Sometimes, when I’m unprepared, the scene of that seventy years old lady comes to my mind, sheathed in a large sleeping coat acting as a swim suit, jumping holding my hand as if she was a little girl.
Rarely had I seen anyone so cheerful and surprised. The aunt jumped, splashed in the water, came in and out, made holes with her feet in the sand, applauded... From a distance, anyone would have thought she had lost her mind. She was my aunt, the ultimate expression of a pure and naive spirit.
Thanks for your time.