The Emperor

We took a train north from Rome to a coastal town called Portovenere.  There was an old man, in his 80s I think, who stood the entire journey.  Rather than taking a seat he stood at the window outside the cabin, gripping the railing and studying every sight his two eyes could hold.  Mountains, trees, villages, ocean - he received it all with the disarmed joy of a wonder-struck child.  But he also had an air of pride for and familiarity with everything he saw, as if it was his and he had tended and cherished it and said that it was good.  He smiled like this was at once his first and last journey.  Discovery and offering; craving and satiation; beggar and king.


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