(A series of personal observations recorded in the countryside in the province of Salerno as Italy takes action against the spread of Covid-19, first published April 27, 2020)
I watch the prime minister’s address on Saturday night and spend the day digging in the earth on Sunday. We have another month ahead of us before there will be a cautious normalcy, before we can take a coffee out, or go out to eat something with friends. Perhaps. Between now and then, little by little, there will be movement. My architect’s work-sites will open next week. Next Tuesday he’ll need to go across the valley, which hasn’t happened in nearly two months. I’m envious. I want to go across the valley on a Tuesday too. I would even go to his meeting, stressful for him and not at all interesting to me, just to see if the poppies have started blooming near the Carthusian monastery yet, or if there’s still snow on Monte Cervati; or if the storks have come back to their nests this year.
(A series of personal observations recorded in the countryside in the province of Salerno as Italy takes action against the spread of Covid-19, first published April 25, 2020)
Oggi è la Festa della Liberazione.
Today is Liberation Day, a celebration of the end of Mussolini’s fascist regime and of the Nazi occupation of Italy. It is a celebration of the Resistance, of the partigiani— the bands of civilians who rose up against the military occupation.
O partigiani, porta mia via
O Bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao.
(O freedom fighters, take me away
goodbye beautiful, goodbye)
Ma della liberta, cosa abbiamo adesso?
But of liberty, what do we have now?
It’s a conspiracy.
It’s 3am and I’m not sleeping.
Of course, it’s a conspiracy.
We’re not talking Bill Gates or 5G or the Knights of Templar here.
It’s “conspiracy”, as in collusion, mutual agreement; collaboration even.
It’s the power of the word:
Something has to change.
Things can’t go on like this.
It has to stop now.
Have these been your words?
Today smells of rain and crushed geraniums.
Across the street from the studio there’s a building being renovated. It’s owned by the Church and will be the home of the new priest, as the old one has not, after nearly three years of retirement, agreed to leave the apartment that would normally house the village priest. Before the renovations, the Church had allowed a man to live there, a painter who, having no family left and being rather lost in society at large, was taken in and given a home. He showed me his paintings once, colorful beautiful visions done with an un-taught naïve hand. He took care of the roses at the edge of the garden and had geraniums in the all the windows of the stairwell turret. I can see them from my terrace.
I’m not sure where he went when the work started last fall, but he left behind the geraniums. I don’t believe they’ve been watered since. They definitely haven’t been watered since the jobsite was closed over a month ago in accordance with lockdown ordinances.
Friday we watch from the back windows of the building where we have our studios. We can see the hills climb up into mountains there. There is a path that cuts across the nearest steep hillside and walking down it are two carabinieri, followed by an old blue car. I know who they’ve got. I don’t know really know the man other than to see him, and I always hated that he drove his car up the steep stone path, but still, to bring him down for picking asparagus?
Rules are rules.
That’s the argument.
I don’t wholly agree of course.
I added this blog as a way to share some thoughts and experiences around the impact of Covid-19 on my life here in Southern Italy. These posts have been a near-daily practice during this time and are largely unedited, most having been first posted on Facebook. They are of course in order with the most recent entry on the first page. I invite you to explore previous posts or even start from the beginning.