Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Trip Down My Tuscan Memory Lane

Wind howls around my house in the early morning ink similar to the winds that plague Heathcliff’s eerie mansion in Wuthering Heights. It lashes at the windows in hungry blasts, an insatiable desire to blow our home off its moorings. I snuggle deeper into my down comforter, trying desperately to drown out its maniacal wailings, enabled by our home’s low slung porches.
If I didn’t know better I could almost imagine Catherine Earnshaw, that star-crossed lover of Wuthering Heights, appearing at my window, her little ice-cold spectral hand scratching to come in. I bury myself even deeper into my winter bedding trying to sleep. It’s no use. The North wind’s loud moaning only drives me further from it. Yet, I am loath to rise.

In that place--between half awake and half asleep--my thoughts turn to another time, where driving snows and howling winds relentlessly blew around our home and kept me awake. Ironically, that windy experience was just about the same time of year as now.
Could it possibly be two years ago  we were winging our way to Bella Tuscany for a month long retreat in Northern Italy? Granted, February in Barga, Italy isn’t exactly peak season--for the above mentioned reasons-- but that didn’t stop us! A note from my journal about the conditions then says it best now:
Tuscan Cold
And let me tell you, it can be damp and penetratingly cold to the marrow this time
of year. I had read the winds could be deceptively frigid but I didn’t really believe
it. After all, we were really pretty close to the Mediterranean and it was almost
March. However, the books I read talking about the weather were right! Though
we had heat, our lodgings were as cold as Klondike; yet outside daffodils and
various spring flowers were poking their sleepy little heads up through the decayed
humus. The nights were absolutely freezing, but the air was crisp and clear except
for the smoke from the continual burning, which came from the Chestnut log decks
strewn throughout the mountainous hillsides. I could see that wood cutting could
have been a full time occupation in these parts.

Many people heat with wood or solar and Pietro, our host, was a very frugal Italian and
no exception. Their entire place ran off those two heat sources except for the light bulbs.
He used the energy saving kind of bulbs and even still, it cost him 100 Euro a
month to run just those. The government only gave them 3 kilowatts worth of
Needless to say, the country is pretty much a NO Appliance zone! I did
have a hair dryer provided, but I might have gotten more air by blowing through a
straw!! We have a washing machine but all our clothes go out on the drying
rack, which makes for a lot of ironing–luckily, an exception to the No Appliance
Actually, I didn’t mind hanging clothes out because the fresh earthy smell of air-
dried clothes made it all worth it. Besides, I loved traveling through the hillside
seeing so many brightly colored clothes flapping in the breeze like so many flags
hung in neat little rows off a tiny balcony. When I get home I intend to run a
clothesline in the little courtyard behind my bathroom at the new house...

Finally, I give up sleep like a worn out lover and go to my computer to pull up pictures of that time and that place. It seems only yesterday, as I gaze longingly at photo after photo, remembering fondly a most delightful month.

Hmmmmm, I'm thinking, surely this is the stuff of many more blogs!

And so, dear reader, won’t you please humor me today as I take a stroll along my Tuscan trail down memory lane? Here, I hope to weave in and out of my blogs over the course of time never- before-postings of pictures and snippets from my journal, “A Month in Italy”.
~the end...for now~

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you!