November 8, 2017 -- On moving to Tuscany
I got out of bed at 6:45 a.m. even though my throat still hurt and my head still dizzy, yet I felt triumphant that I could at least breathe out of one nostril. I’ve never felt a suffocation such as I did these last two days, powerless to inhale even a microgram of oxygen into either nostril. I wanted to wake up and see the morning. I had this sensation that the blue light of dawn had caressed my shoulders to ease me into a gentle awakening. That soft blue light that hinged the world with a suppleness concealed by day’s sharp brightness. I wanted to smell the coffee that Massi was brewing on the gas stove in the Moka pot. I sat down at the kitchen table. Massi and his father had been in there for a little while, silent before even before I had entered. There was a fog that smothered the landscape, like snow falling in the thicket of the Alps. The fated humidity of this region that has put this whole town under the spell of influenza. To my right, through the kitchen door windows of the outside terraza, I saw only the black silhouette of the midriff of a tall pine tree. There was a row of them that lined the parking garage below of this three level apartment complex typical to Italy. These were the Christmas trees that Massi's family and neighbors had cut down for the holiday and then replanted in their yard instead of disposing them like we did in NY – leaving them to atrophy in front of the house beside the garbage cans to wait for pick-up. I smile when I see those immense trees. Brilliant, I thought, or almost more on the level of common sense. And when I first discovered this Italian concept it made me bat my eyes in stupidity. What were the real reasons I should be proud to be American? There were certainly many, I now respect, but when one first discovers the deceit and lies of their culture, anger is typically the first responder.
So this is what the blue dawn woke me up to ponder? I look to my left from the family kitchen table and I see the washed clothes hanging, also silhouetted black by the morning fog. How will those clothes ever dry I ponder? I do miss the warmth of a dryer. I do miss the comfort of so much affordable energy at our fingertips that we can do laundry all day long, iron whenever we need, keep the lights on in every room, keep the heat or air conditioning blasting to maintain temperature. But I respect the Italians.
Bruno asked Massi’s father this afternoon to cut him some prosciutto. Nonno opened the refrigerator with his large hands and grabbed what looked like half of a whole thigh, wrapped in a stark white soft cotton tea towel. He placed it vertical on a cutting board a third of it’s size, while Bruno sat on my lap and watched licking his lips. With a long knife that looked more like an uncircumcised penis than anything else and an upright curve at the mushroom tip, Bruno’s nonno sliced the prosciutto with such precision it began to curl like finely shaved chocolate. We sat and ate prosciutto while nonna catalogued her menu for the week after shopping, writing with a sharpie the names and dates of her protein purchases. And later after lunch we went outside for the very first time in five days.