THE AUTUMN MUSIC OF MONTISI
There is a rhythm to life in a small medieval Italian village. The seasons pass as they do elsewhere, but slowly and distinctly. High notes and low notes.
The autumn highs are marked by harvests and festivals, with incredibly clear blue skies and starlit nights. The air is fragrant with wood-smoke, olives being pressed, and the fermentation of vin santo grapes. Shutters open to early morning breezes and ethereal mists crouching low in the valley.
Voices rise from the street in a harmony of excitement, anticipation and pleasure. Birdsong, church bells, the sultry hum of cicadas, the laughter of children, all contribute to this seasonal symphony.
The harsh arrival of the low notes startles. Wind forces its fingers through the cracks and crevices of the ancient buildings and whistles for attention. Stones turn cold and damp. Bare feet tiptoe across the frigid floor.
The windows frame angry gray clouds pouring rain on the thirsty hills. Shafts of sunlight tease fallow fields with a moment of warmth, a golden gift. Shutters stay closed keeping Nature’s dissonance out. Sounds from the street are few. Staccato voices low and quick.
Andante, andante, the concert continues with a reprise. The music lifts once again to the glorious high notes, never truly out of reach, always on the next page.
The rhythm in a small village continues as it has for centuries. Ruled by the seasons and Nature, its destiny of high notes and low notes a perpetual reminder of the dance of life.
Returning to Italy...
My heart is full of remembrance.
The images behind my eyes are slowly coming into focus.
Images that will be fully seen in a few short days:
The impossibly blue wedges of sky, the glorious green of Spring,
The silver slices of olive leaves, earth the color of sienna,
The ancient buildings standing proudly in their sameness through the centuries,
Stinging my eyes with tears from their beauty.
I will return to the fragrance of coffee like no other,
The scents of rosemary, basil, and lavender in the air,
And of meals being prepared behind shuttered windows.
The tastes of wine with a history, of cheese aged in the valley nearby,
Of thick pasta rolled by a nonna’s practiced hand,
Will mingle with the freshness of vegetables from the garden.
Soon the rhythmic language that makes my ears sing,
Will surround me like a dance of words.
The cathedral bells will toll their song back into my soul,
And I will feel a peace and harmony I feel nowhere else.
The dear faces of friends, some from years past, some newly discovered,
Will fill me once again with pleasure and joy.
All my senses will awaken from their dream, and I will feel at home in my heart.
Those Italian hands...