November 6, 2017

We have moved to Italy and already I feel like it’s a memory instead of our reality. My son has had a fever the last three nights in a row fostering a deep guttural cough full of phlegm as the days stuck inside the house progress. At least it has been raining. I sit on the couch, or on the bed, most of the day with Bruno committed to my side taking inventory of the changes that are happening in my life. The most apparent is the coming and going of Massi’s father and Nonno Bruno, both carrying at different times of the day, up and down the shiny sea shell colored marble stairs, to the second floor we live on, produce from their respective gardens.

“My garden is better,” Massi’s father said the other night at the dinner table. I look forward to assisting the arbitration of this matter with the years to come. Though Nonno Bruno has an edge – raising chickens and pigeons – some of the best I’ve ever tasted. And in my opinion, especially from the heart of someone fighting a cold as well, with tired bones and a faltering appetite – there is nothing more comforting and nostalgic than the warmth and the smell of poultry in the over or in the pot and the sounds of these farm-life comings and goings while Massi’s mother zips across the house cleaning, ironing, washing vegetables, organizing, and talking on the phone in that Italian manner that seems like she’s telling someone off.

I yearn to go back outside and walk the neighborhood again, clasping Massi’s arm with mine as we did the other day down a street I thought I had never strolled. “Do these smells do anything to you?” I said. “Do they remind you so much of your childhood?” I looked up into his green eyes which began to ponder. We wandered slowly, perfectly clad in Fall attire. I whiffed the creamy air, stuffed with pockets of smoking wood and the perfume of withering leaves and transforming seasons. “It reminds me so much of my childhood in NY,” I said and stared at the falling leaves. I remember them as I imagine one would feel when watching the fleeting descent of cherry blossoms for the first time -- like an ancient geisha dance performance – steady, stoic, magical, overall tantalizing. The grounds were spattered with fallen leaves mimicking the colors and tones of the Italian architecture besieging the landscape.  The pomegranate and brick reds, pumpkin nudes of stone and orange, and lemon and lime foliage painted together into a scene captured in multitude by some of my favorite European painters. How much I want to go back to this street and see it again, worried that with even the passing of one more day, the exhibition will be gone.

Jordana GiovannoniComment