(A series of personal observations recorded as Italy takes action against the spread of Covid-19, first published April 13, 2020)
I’ve rather lost count. I’ve skipped some days. Is it Sunday? Was it Easter? Monday? After so many weeks the effort of keeping track seems meaningless.
It’s spring. It's now later in spring than it was earlier, when all the moist sunny places were covered in bright yellow blossoming lesser celandine. Now is when the wisteria just blooms. Today is part of the greater period of wild fennel, which sprouted just after the violets did, and part of the smaller period of orchids, which will disappear months before the fennel seeds, being too delicate to face the heat. If it weren’t for my architect, I’d already have wholly succumbed to a calendar more like this. I would say things like: on the day the wind brings sand from the Sahara, I’ll meet you between the two walnut trees after the periwinkle opens but before the sun touches their leaves. I would be living by my own clock. It wouldn’t be a clock based on business hours. It might not even be one based entirely on the sun. What if I’d rather wake when the moon rises? Always at a different time so as to better know each hidden part of what passes for a day.
I’m feeling both rushed and constrained by the semblance of normalcy. I admit I often feel this way, no matter the circumstances.
In losing count of days a little, I’m finding also that my attention has drifted. There’s something about all that’s going on across the globe that feels like background noise lately, unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
The source of any anxiety I may experience has shifted.
If I am uneasy now, it’s because of the hard dry ground; the days and weeks on end of sunshine. It’s because of the already-dry patches of weeds in the fields, the bolted greens and the wilted peas; the trees whose uppermost branches struggle to put forth green. I find myself craving the smell of a creek bed, of wet leaves, and mud. I am craving the moist green shade of a forest filled with ferns. I feel thirsty for warm water. I want to immerse myself in the sea. How important can anything else be when there's no rain?
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.