Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer time, and the living is easy

We're in the middle of one of those Italian summer heat waves where life in the city is pretty unbearable, sleep-deprived unbearable that is. Thank goodness we're far away from that. We're in Sant'Ippolito at Casa Chiocciola for the next two weeks where there's a lovely breeze and the trees hang low with fruit and where the girls can run around in their mutande, trudging over the grass and splashing in an inflatable pool we've set up underneath two shady oaks.  It's a real paradise for them here and I cannot help but smile as I see them shriek in delight as they chase butterflies and throw stones off the bank into the roadway, and find mischief that only two-year-olds can find in the countryside when they're allowed to run free. To see two people love this place as much as their dad fills me with tremendous pride. It will be theirs some day (hopefully, senza mutuo), I guess.

2012 is something of a landmark year for me and for this place – it's our 10-year anniversary. Amazingly, I've been coming here for one-quarter of my life. In those early years I had no idea what would become of this place. I was living in another country, living on a journalist salary, with big debts to pay. My grasp of the language was tenuous. My confusion over Italian tax law and red tape was even more daunting. I had no roots here. I had no real claim to this land, this place, these people, their history. But a lot has happened in just a few years. Xtina and I have made Amandola a true second home, a second home that squeezes in even in-laws from time to time.

The girls seem to complete this harmonious picture. They enjoy this place as much as I enjoyed another hilltop house from my youth, my grandmother's house "in the country," up in rural Sussex County, NJ. It would be a stretch to draw parallels between Lake Neepaulin and Sant'Ippolito (though there is that lake thing going for both communities) and yet I still get these vivid flashbacks of that place when, for example, I'm here listening to the breeze rustle the trees or watching the tractors bail the hay, or the shepherds corralling flocks of sheep, or watching the girls race each other up and over the crest of the hill. I now understand that I can see and hear these things because I've managed to slip into Sant'Ippolito's tranquil rhythm. The Lake Neepaulin of my youth had it too. It's a rhythm I hope my girls too will come to appreciate when they hit 40 too.


Adam said...

Daddy is rich (in everything that matters) and Momma's good lookin!

Bernhard Warner said...