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  • “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Jim started talking to me:

    - "If you encounter a bear, be quiet. Raise your hands, do not move and just repeat the name of someone you love",

    We were both at the Yosemite Bug, a cozy hostel located a few miles from the Yosemite National Park.

    It was early December and my time in San Francisco was almost over, but I didn't want to leave California without visiting the big secuoias.

    With a map on the table, Jim was marking for me the most interesting routes to cover on the Park the next day.

    He was there with a close friend to attend a birdwatching workshop on the next day.The two of them were having a big steak for dinner:

    - "If my wife were here, she would take care of my Colesterol!" said Jim with a naughty smile.

    -"So, How did you get here?" asked he.

    I told him that I had taken two trains, one bus and a walk to get to the bug.

    -"But ... That's not natural!" replied he.

    By then, our conversation had taken a more personal character, and Jim already knew a bit more of my personal story:

    -"Maybe that's the reason why I don't like limits. Perhaps that's whay I have learned to do things in a slightly different way".

    Some people are like the sea: You put one foot on the edge of his life, and in a few moments you can feel the warm of their hearts leading you to the solid ground, where beauty is grounded:

    -"You have a gift", said Jim. "You are a powerful person. Did you thank your father for being that way?"

    That night, I felt that Jim was my star, the Merlin of my story, my grandfather in the forest. And I also felt that his words weren't only a gift for, me but for many other people too.

    The bar was noisy. I tried to take notes of what Jim was telling me, but I couldn't understand all his English. With my Moleskine and a pen, I used my memory to capture that special moment.

    Then, we started talking about love, the birds and the power of technology.

    - "What's the best about birdwatching?" did I ask them.
    -"Birds don't seem to be affected by anything", replied Jim. "I am a lawyer by profession, and I like to study, I like to learn how to distinguish different species, to observe how the time does not seem to make a dent in them... Do you know what? At 3.000 meters high... all the birds are beautiful!

    Later on, talking about education, Jim looked at me with his profound eyes and quoted Goethe:

    - "Teach somebody what they can be, and they will become".

    Jim loves the Yosemite National Park. And his wife as well: "She was the one who found me. She is the most beautiful person that you could imagine. Every day, when I leave home, I kiss her. I know that someday... that kiss will be my last kiss".

    - "Are you happy?"

    Jim told me about his livelong adventures with his wife and their camps on the woods of Yosemite:

    - "It was wonderful. Five weeks living in the countryside surrounded by flowers in midsummer, at 3,000 meters high. We did it during ten years, until my wife suggested: Do you think we should stop?"

    We talked also about love and marriage:

    -"Marriage is the most important thing in life. Never make love if you're angry. End your day with the one you love. Take care of him. I'm an old man now, and I must take my pills five times a day. If my wife wouldn't be by my side, I would probably be already dead. Be generous. Be generous with the love. It works!"

    A moment later, Jim looked at me with infinite love and told me something that moved me:

    -"When you wake up in the middle of the night and you feel afraid because you have no idea about what's next, remember: remember that you have a gift. Remember it and repeated softly: "I have a gift, I have a gift!"

    On the next morning, I woke up at 5.30am to catch the first bus to Yosemite Park, as Jim suggested.

    Crossing the dark road that went from the Bug to the bus stop, feeling the fear on my body, I whispered:

    -" I have a gift, I have a gift!"

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