Day 45: Bassano del Grappa

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Almost everything is closed.

I always thought it celebrated the miracle of Jesus' conception; it's actually celebrating Mary's. That, according to the Roman Catholic Church, when told by the angel she was "full of grace" it meant she lived a life without sin. Unlike us. Just like Jesus. Who was just like us. In every way, but...

Tonight, we're making enchiladas for eight. And I get to play with the decorations in the drawer. 

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Day 44: Bassano del Grappa

What I'm realizing about Italians is not that "they're obsessed" with beauty. Good art, good design, good form. This isn't a particular extreme toward which they run gleefully. It's actually just the proper state of being. Of life's being. When you live from the center, without the strain of cost or custom or time or performance, there's something unyielding that propels you to find the better.

Why not have it be beautiful? 

 (Why not cut off the tops of the trees because they'd otherwise block the view?)

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Day 43: Bassano del Grappa

I don't want to forget, these lilac mornings I'll call them. When my eyes curl open all on their own around 0723. The hills are just reflecting the light, an ombre of tangerine red and faint periwinkle, stopped by the blue of a cloudless morning sky.

Old Italian houses don't heat very well. The bed, pseudo-damp with chill at night, is a nest when I wake up. Like a terracotta cocoon, a perfect dome around my body. If I lay still enough, maybe just I can walk to the window -- leave my sleeping shell behind. Would my breath still fog the glass? I'd draw a heart to send the sunrise. 

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Day 42: Bassano del Grappa

The mightiest month requires sharp eyes. To notice the normal, but not the similar. You never know when something can change. When you know you're not alone. There's a frame you're stepping into, perfected in advance. You don't have to rush it.

It's the way fallen acorns crunch under a swirl of your foot. How the happiest hour is spent wandering streets with shut up storefronts, everyone else back home for lunch. Leaves, perfectly dead and dried, provide a runway for what's come alive.

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Day 41: Bassano del Grappa

Next to the sign: Citta della Speranza. A rustic place, a homey place. On the outskirts of town that we couldn't get back to without a car, we had sparkling white with creamy morlacco squished between two slices of bread. Black and white photos on the wall. A framed picture of some types of screws.

"This is a not nice place." Meaning, a not fancy place. Yet, we found it very nice indeed.

Later that night, the sunset stretched itself across the sky. 

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Day 40: Venezia

Just a visitor here. Underneath the melodic bells, tucked safe in warm corners where the bar stools slightly wobble. 

Around me, no talking. Only singing. Syllables. Hand acrobats in the air. Meat and cheese between rustic buns and the clinking sound of cleaning glasses. I can't see where the room ends; I don't need to. My soul has found the place.

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Day 39: Bassano del Grappa

I wish the snow would come. Down from its perch, sitting there on the top of the hill. Romancing from so far off in the distance. Like the vague edge of a dream. The more you reach for it, the more it melts into clear. Into nothing. Into the empty space between moments. Between the sun shining and setting.

Another guest is in the kitchen. I'm pretending not to be here. I don't know why. He's very nice. Sometimes I just want to pause, want to listen. To feel the company of the air, the privilege of unused time and stare at the wish on the hill.

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