Sunday, June 25, 2006
The turquoise blue swimming pool is nestled among the olive trees, perfectly situated in the Tuscan hill that holds the villa where we currently reside.
Roses climb the fences, the walls, lending their fragrant scent to a soft, hot air filled with the sound of hundreds and hundreds of birds, bees, crickets, toads and geckos. No pesticides or herbides here, where the world's finest grapes begin their maturation, in anticipation of fall and the harvest.
The potted lemon trees flank the veranda where we sipped our thick morning coffee, perfectly pruned to allow them to grow in the same pots for years. The fruit has set, grown and is now ripening, pale yellow today--deep, shunshine yellow in a month.
Flocks and flocks of birds hustle across the hills together--ever in search of the best bugs and that one speck of dried fruit on the vine that all the others overlooked.
The hills are criss-crossed with tidy rows of grapes and olive groves and the air is still--almost in suspense. What lies around the next hour of this day?
As I sit and write, a small bouquet of lavendar rests at my hand, carefully picked from the many clumps throughout the grounds. The faint smell of night blooming jasmine lingers, murmuring the memories of last night's magic and mystery in the Tuscan hills. An ancient abbey high on a hill across the valley stands silent in the mid-morning sun, a sun already molto as the smiling, elderly gardeners puts it. Sole molto. This land, these hills are not for the thin-skinned, faint of heart. To survive here, you must be able to bake until a thick crust forms, making you immune to the heat and the harshness that the light can bear upon you, as the perfumed air quickly swirls around you in a slight breeze, then settles and the songs the church bells toll slowly waltz through the hills....