Sitting behind the wheel of the big Volga, which was our family car at the time, I was waiting for my mother to finish weeding the graves of our long departed relatives. I sat in the car, surrendered to the thoughts which came and went from my mind one after another, drifting as the white clouds drifted in the lazy summer sky. My old love for wild creatures rose within me as I looked at the green bushes, the trees and the white gravestones with the village lake behind them. Despite the noonday quietness of the place, I knew that wildness lurked in its secret shadows. Jackals and foxes hid in the bushes and, at night, their haunting cry resounded over the sleepy neighbourhood. Hedgehogs and badgers, lizards and big whip snakes as thick as a child`s arm, lived in the place where all life was supposed to turn to dust.
Still lost in thought, I searched for a good tune on the radio. My hand froze as I heard a familiar melody and, in a moment, a voice that I well knew filled the car. As the crooning of Elvis permeated a time and geography far away from his own, my gaze swept over the world around me. Silently, I marveled at the fact that a soul long departed could bring its song to a place where death had the final word. As if, in front of me, an unseen hand had opened a window that connected two worlds. Caught in the middle, I sat in awestruck silence. As the immortal voice spilled over the graveyard scenery in front of me, something stirred within. No, it was not death that lay before me.
The warm breeze. The white gravestones. The lake, the waters of which was shared by fish, turtles, frogs and many other living things which I had once studied with such great interest. The green trees. The lush vegetation where the wild animals lived. It all spoke of life, and not death to me.
How could it be, I wondered, that a voice which brings eternity to the world, awakes so much in the hearts of others, is now silenced forever? I knew then, that this was not possible. But it was not mere need for knowledge that had inspired such reasoning…
Eternity was calling to me. It was in the voice of Elvis, in the lush greenness of the graveyard, in the old design of the Volga which my friends always compared to the cars driven by the Mafia in the American films. It was in the clear summer sky which spoke of a home even though I was at home, and whispered promises of a life full of memories which never grow old and a joy which never passes. The haunting, timeless call pierced my heart as I sat behind the wheel. As if there was something that I had known, and was known by, all my life, something so precious and so close, yet somehow strange, and out of place in a world where pain and confusion darken even the brightest hope.
Nearly fifteen years later, I was once again behind the wheel, although it was not the old Volga that I was driving. This time I was away from the place of my youth, and away from my homeland. Driving along a busy road, I was thinking of the recent death of Whitney Houston. Looking at the clear blue sky, her beautiful voice drifted toward me through the passages of memory and I let myself be carried by it, suddenly pierced by something old and immortal.
Eternity is indeed, placed within our hearts.