…and their impact on me.

North-American singer Josh Ritter has a beautiful song called “Change of Time”, of which I only know about because it was played in an episode of one of my favorite TV shows, The Blacklist. I was on the verge of tears when I heard it the first time.

There’s such peace in this song. There’s sadness too, combined with hope. The acceptance of life as it is. The feeling of the song stayed in my head for a long time, making me dream about starry skies and floating epiphanies.

I wanted to tell you that before anything else so you would have a background for the real subject of this text. Which is: in the beginning of the year, I went with some friends to a spa near Brussels. It was a memorable night from start to finish, but the moment that really gripped my heart with iron force was soon after we got there, when we went to the outside pool to swim under the stars.

It was one of the most magical moments of my life. I was floating, letting my body drift aimlessly while I watched the stars up above. To add to the aura of magic, there was a fog generated by the heat of the water meeting the January cold. So, as I looked at the starts, I saw this light steam covering the scenario with mysterious beauty.

Josh Ritter’s song started playing in my head in an endless loop. It seemed perfectly fit for the moment. In the music, he sings: “I had a dream last night / I dreamt that I was swimming and the starts up above / directionless and drifting / somewhere in the dark were the sirens and the thunder / and around me as I swam, the drifters who’d gone under.”

It was… perfect. Few things in life are, but that moment was. I could only hear my heartbeat because my ears were under the water, and there was nothing else in the world other than me and the water surrounding me, protecting me; nothing other than the stars up above, telling me tales of a billion years ago, assuring me that as long as I remember what it is all about, everything will be fine.

That’s the most beautiful feeling of all, isn’t it? To be affected by the world around you in such a level that you understand the meaning of everything, of all things that happen and that don’t, and know that you will be alright no matter what comes into or out of your life.

The night reserved other surprises; I discovered that Belgian people have no reservations whatsoever towards using the “nude” part of the spa. They walked around in their birthday suits with the same dignity and pride as kings and queens, while I ran like a lunatic from one easy cover (like the pool) to the next (like the sauna).

Not that I am a shy person but, well, let’s say that in Brazil you would never find yourself in this kind of situation. Although I admit that there’s something liberating in running naked in the middle of a naked crowd.

I laughed, and I relaxed, and I tensed up, then relaxed again, and even went to a hypnosis-induced tranquilizing session (in which I rudely –but predictably- slept). But no moment was as majestic as when I was watching the stars while my body drifted. It’s a fond memory now, one that always makes me smile. And that’s kind of the whole point of living new experiences, right?

If you don’t know the song yet, listen to it here:

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