Linden trees

Linden trees… they begin to spread their perfume when the flowers are already withered and fall down or begin to rot. It’s a scent of death. The most troubling I know in this world. This perfume contains the secret formula of love, which makes it at the same time irresistible and absurd, inevitable and impossible, present and absent, real and unreal. The perfume of linden trees renders the indestructible relation between splendor and transience. The closest and furthest points in a being are united in the wave of melancholy transported by the smell of linden flowers. This fascinating, yet sickening perfume evokes the intangible, unfulfillable absoluteness of love. Things cannot become fulfilled – completed – except with the condition of immutability. Of eternity. Everything that is subjected to transformation is touched by the essential deficiency of the temporal existence and which is not death, but beauty, that it isn’t death that hurts, but the beauty that is extinguished in it…

The meaning of the love for life, for the world, for nature, for a privileged other is in this evanescence of splendor, in the unfulfillment that beauty imbeds in our souls, like a red hot iron. Beauty and love can never be fulfilled, reached, possessed, we can only long for them… Only the intellectual side of the being, platonically said, can find its balance, can find new meanings, explanations, reasons for existence. The shadowy, sensitive, “womanly’ side of each of us, the intimate nature, is destined for unbalance, mystery, unfulfillment, torture, unrepeatable actions, continuous transformation. Just like art, this dimension of the being is not meant to clarify things, to satisfy our desires, to help us understand the universe, but rather to “deepen the mystery”, as Francis Bacon said. And the attraction force. Narval talked about that “soleil noir de la melancolie”…
Aesthetic living is by excellence melancholic, Saturnian, it is related to the splendor that time offers to us and then devours.
And the linden perfume gives it back to us, for a few days a year, so that we cannot rest our souls in a world of pure ideas, where there is no sadness and pain.
Melancholy is not only the essence of pain without an object, but it is also the meaning of this pain, which we cannot find in the raw suffering of victimization. There are purifying sufferings and humiliating, degrading sufferings. Melancholy is a purgatory of the being, an aquatic, contemplative state, in which life and death are united in an unavoidable embrace, which gives meaning to both.
The year I was born, my father planted a linden tree in the garden of our apartment house. It is my brother, my vegetal twin. Sometimes, I summon it and ask it to help me, from afar. Sometimes, I just imagine resting my tired temples against its trunk. I sometimes wonder if it dreams as well. My imaginary childhood friend was named Til. Tilo means “linden tree” in Spanish. I wonder if we will grow old together, if it will outlive me… if I have ever disappointed my brother, the linden tree.


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