(A series of personal observations recorded as Italy takes action against the spread of Covid-19, first published April 9, 2020)
(I skipped a day)
A full minute of joyful ringing bells at midday and the Quaresima, forty days that began with ashes on a Wednesday, is over. Holy Thursday.
There’s something else in the air today too. The street in front of my studio has seemed busier and busier with traffic and passing conversation over the past several days, even during the hours of the midday lunch break when it’s typically nearly silent. The piazza in front of our apartment is fuller. The sun is higher and brighter, the air drier; the day warmer. Spring is rushing now; every day something else spouts flowers or yellow-green leaves.
It’s as if, collectively, patience has run out. Can we just get on with it already?
Sensing this, the mayor (or somebody), sends the car with the loudspeaker around again, rolling slowly up and down each street, letting us know that the quarantine isn’t over yet and reminding us to stay inside. Ce la faremo, shouts the loudspeaker voice. We’ll make it.
Wheezy, who returned the other day after a month away, is, in contrast to all the activity going on outside the studio, dozing peacefully. He’s finally settled down a little after a day and a half of near-hourly meals, insistence on being physically on my person (or G.’s) or very nearby and an unusual wakefulness, accompanied by sneezing and wheezing. He’s wheezing now in his sleep. He got his name because he wheezed for a couple months after I found him, lungs infected and weak. The veterinarian was quite sure he wouldn’t make it and the anti-biotics didn’t seem to help all that much. It was several portions of raw beef that finally did the trick. I’d been cooking something and, as usual, he was underfoot. He didn’t meow much back then but has always had a very intense way of looking at you when he wants to be fed, as if he’s willing the thought into your mind. You want to feed me. So I put a little pinch of the ground meat in his bowl and he growled like a lion, and looked at me again. You want to feed me more. Over the course of a few days, he stopped wheezing, sneezing and being generally pitiful. We kept the name though.
So I made a stop at Giuseppe’s, the butcher on my way to the studio yesterday. If you tell him you want some meat for your cat or dog, he usually gives you a bag full of bones or things most people don’t eat. Once he gave me a few slices of liver. No charge. Nothing is wasted.
I’m feeling a bit of the buzzing spring energy today in that I’m restless, distracted. But I’m also feeling pleased by the opportunity to daydream. There’s a cat on my lap and he’d really rather I didn’t move.
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.