The sign has stood there a long time. Being a sign, it could not feel the passing of time, but it felt in its veins of wood that it was old. It could feel that it had been in this place for many many years.
People passed by on their walks on Romanian paths. They sometimes stopped at the sign and asked each other questions. Is that really the way to Paris … Barcelona … Venezia … München …? And at times, the sign thought about responding. After all, it was listening to their questions. But it did not.
This is a town that began 9,500 years ago. Long before writing had been invented, long before signs existed. The sign was not as old as that. But, in human terms, the sign was very old.
In human terms. The sign has thought about many things. It has thought about the crisp winter days of cold snow and ice. It has thought about the disappearance of civilizations that might have once lived here. It has thought about the number of languages that humans seem to need to communicate among themselves. There is only one language for a sign. It is the language in letters fixed onto its signpost.
The sign welcomes birds as well as human travelers. Every so often a person comes by and puts a coat of new paint over the brightly colored birdhouses fastened to its main post. The sign does not keep track of whether birds inhabit the birdhouses. It has the sunlight and the horizon to contemplate.
One could say that the sign sleeps. After all, it does not respond to human conversation, it does not keep track of birds that may build their nests on its post, it does not count things or dream of other places or wish to travel far away. It is a sign that has stood in its place for a long time. And it may stand in its place for a long time more.
But who is to say that it does not think of other things?
Many, many thanks to Monica of Time 2 Photograph blog for allowing me to use this photograph for this story. Monica’s photo was taken at Brasov in Romania, a vacation town and a town with a long history of multicultural habitation. Monica features several guest writers on her blog, in addition to her own unique writing and photographs. Her blog is bilingual (Romanian-English) and she is a gracious and generous blogger. Thank you, Monica!