The harvest was in, the hay baled, the wood stacked for winter heat. New color was popping up in the mountain landscape. I was wearing my jacket most of the day, and the wind often howled restlessly at night.
Our neighbor up the road invited us into his field to harvest walnuts. Nazzareno is 86 yet scrambles up the hillside like one of his sheep. He didn’t want our help! He wanted us to enjoy his walnuts, cracking one after another in his hand and transferring them to us to eat.
We were invited up to his house for a drink, and got to meet his smiling wife Mevia! Oh how I wished I had studied my Italian before this trip!
One of the residents, Anne, is working on a video/poetry project about the Vite Maritata, the agricultural method that is no longer in use, except in some areas like Mount Subasio. The grape vine is trained to grow up a tree which it uses for support. Anne took me on a tour of the tree/vines, some of which live on the residence property.
My last day I walked to the waterfall down the mountain, part way with Nancy and Deb, feeling the bitter sweet of endings soon to come. Humor saved us from becoming maudlin as Mr. Tree appeared. Humor and art had served us all month. . .
. . .along with Marina and her family, who seemed to work non stop. Her mother Adria kept the house pristine and immaculate. After serving homemade breakfast pastries and local specialties of the season on linen table cloths, she would hang the laundry on outside lines where our sheets would pick up sweet mountain scents. Enzo (the father) would stop by each day to chop wood, harvest walnuts and more. The art of wood collection and arranging became the art of photography as we residents greedily recorded it. Poetry and paintings sprouted like wildflowers in fertile ground, and a simple moment of conversation could bloom into nature metaphors and the tinkling laughter of connection with the trees, the Italians, Americans, Dutch, Aussies and anyone else who wanted to share this mountain magic.
That’s my story. It was time to pack up the art supplies, say my goodbyes and head back to California.