Day 15, Sundown Birds
The sun disappears from the valley well before it actually goes down. My studio faces east and what I ever see of the sunset is maybe part of it’s reflection on the mountains opposite, or maybe red clouds in a rose-gold sky. There is a point every evening though, during the space between rose-gold and darkness, precisely at the moment of sunset, when the sky fills with birds. They swirl and caw and move in huge clouds from the flat of the valley up to the dark hills and out again and back... swooping, stirring, singing. Then, when it’s nearly dark, the sky suddenly empties.
Why do they do that?
Where do they go when they leave the sky?
Why at the hour of sunset precisely?
There’s likely a reason, neat and scientific. Or there is a story, tangled and poignant. I’ve asked around. Mostly no one knows. I’m disappointed at the lack of wonder and curiosity.
This morning there was the usual accumulation of news, things that multiplied or divided in the night. I start with “La Prima Cosa Bella” (The first beautiful thing), a column at the top of La Repubblica’s home page that always looks for a little light in the dark situations described below it. G. starts with a report that more people are dying with this than they say. More people are infected than they can count. There are a lot of questions. Mostly no one knows.
His mother calls. There’s the first case in the family: a cousin, a doctor who lives up north. He’s been hospitalized; intubated. His wife isn’t answering the phone and his son is too young to call. Everyone is waiting.
I arrive at the studio and call the cat who still doesn’t come. I call anyway, out the front windows too. I’d already gone calling down a narrow lane across the street this morning, but all that came was a small black dog who just wanted a scratch behind the ears.
I work without taking my usual afternoon nap, no 20 minutes of stillness today. I forget to. I’m absorbed. Light fades. I only hear it’s sundown from the birds.
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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.