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Selena and her friends

Selena and her friends

Selena and her friends

The cat in the picture is Magro, he lives near the Sentiero di Gandria and he is a friend of Selena.

Every now and then, even before dawn, I go jogging on that path and meet Selena, a woman in her seventies who leaves from Cassarate and goes all the way to visit her friends. Selena looks like a good ghost: her face is covered with too much white cream that highlights her olivy skin, her hands are stuck inside light white gloves, maybe because she uses two trekking sticks, and often she also wears a white jersey. And she carries a backpack full of pet food. There are chocolates for Magro (actually they are fish sticks), pralines for Motorina and Mango (chicken croquettes), candies for Nero (seeds) and bread crumbs for Cip and Ciop (they really are break crumbs).

"One day, at the Migros checkout, two of my neighbors in line behind me marveled at all this pet food I buy. As I have no animals, they asked me if my husband and I would eat it" told me Selena one morning, as the air began to fill with light. “But I don’t care what people think” she laughed.

When it hasn't rained for a long time, she brings a water bottle to fill at one of the fountains along the way to wet the thirsty flowers that sprout in the walls or between the rocks; if she stumbles in the rubbish thrown by others, she collects it and puts it in her backpack. I often stop to chat with her, so she keeps me informed about how the chicken that appeared on her balcony is, about the orchids that she found at the ecocentre, about the brood of ducks next to the Lanchetta and about the neighbors' dog that scratches at her door after dinner. Sometimes also about how her husband is .

But this morning Selena is not here. And it is the first time that I really notice her, or rather: that I notice the preciousness of her gestures that someone misses. Waiting for her, in fact, there are Mango, a pink cat with a malformation on one leg, then Magro, a very thin cat, Cip and Ciop, a couple of ducks, Nero, a blackbird and Motorina, a kitten who purrs as soon as you look at her. Everyone seems to be a bit perplexed and worried because not a day goes by without seeing her. My heart drowns in tenderness and all of a sudden I realize that Selena told me about a medical visit she was going to have early, one of those mornings. She certainly warned her friends as well, but obviously they also forgot.

Selena does all this in the dark. Apart from me and some other joggers there is no one who sees her, no newspaper writes about her, no photographer gets a picture of her to post it on Instagram. She doesn't need it. She is there to take care of a very small part of the world in her own way. She is there to be kind to nature and show her gratitude. To give love and attention without asking for anything in return.

As she already said about her neighbors, she doesn't care what people think.

But I decided to write about her, even though her gestures seem small. But we know that even small things can make a big difference in the world, even "small" attitudes can be a source of inspiration for others, even the little one has a great repercussion, like a stone thrown into the water that creates larger and larger concentric waves that get contagious.

Thank you, Selena, for setting this good exemple!