What’s happening these days is that it’s hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. There’s an intricate system of opening and closing the windows and shutters at just the right times throughout the day to maximize airflow and minimize heating up the rooms inside. I don’t quite do it right and Rina, who’s in her 70s but seems 100, tsk tsks and instructs me. In Italian, of course. I understand, nod, and smile through gritted teeth. It’s always something with Rina.
What’s happening is that it rained and rained, too much in May and June, and now there are mosquitoes everywhere. We all try not to turn on lights at night because the bugs are drawn indoors (the windows and shutters are open to let the cool air in all night), but they must seek out body heat, too, because my legs are covered in bites.
What’s happening is sunflowers and the roses’ second bloom of the season and grapes growing fuller on the vine.
What’s happening is I’m letting Mufasa off the leash on our walks so I can stand in the shade while he wades into tall grasses to do his business. He wanders off in the mornings and comes back quickly but last night he snuck away purposefully; I saw him duck down into some bushes… to have a little adventure of his own.
I used to let him off the leash more. Last year he ran away and found a place not too far from our walking path where there were bones — I think the guy who owns the land is a hunter. Clearly Mufasa remembered the bone place because after a few minutes he emerged on the path in the woods with what appeared to be a picked clean, bleached human femur! For a dog allergic to everything, who can’t have so much as a Milk Bone dog treat, you can imagine the pleasure. He didn’t drool; he didn’t chomp; he would not put it down to have a drink of water at the town fountain on our way home, as he usually does. Oh no. His jaw was perfectly still around that bone til he laid down on the back patio to commence gnawing. I didn’t let him. I took it away immediately and put it in the garbage. To my surprise, he has not been hunting around the house for it. He probably suspected I would do that.
What else is happening? Blackberries are everywhere, the bushes growing wild, thorny branches jutting out into the walking path, scratching up my ankles as we go.
I’m reading again — during the school year it seemed I couldn’t be still and quiet long enough to read much, but you’ll note the addition of the “Books by the Bed” links at left. I liked these books all for very different reasons. The third in the Ya-Ya trilogy sounds like my heritage. It was all little vignettes, somewhat disjointed, but she makes me laugh and sounds like the South and it felt familiar on some primordial level. The Lady in the Palazzo was the third in Marlena De Blasi’s trilogy of memoirs about moving to Italy. In each book you get a sense of the three different towns in which she’s lived, but neither of these books compares to the sheer writing skill displayed in Anne Tyler’s Digging to America. It’s the novel of two families in Balitmore — one Iranian, one typically American — who adopt Korean babies that arrive on the same plane. Tyler captures the human condition and delivers it in snippets of dialogue. Finally, I picked up a memoir by Carole Radziwill in Target a few weeks ago. I didn’t know who she was. I just started it last night and will keep you posted…
It seems summer is restructuring time and a few places in Gentilino are being completely renovated. One is surrounded by scaffolding; this lovely villa’s being gutted inside. I wonder where the family has gone while all the work is being done. **I heard them tonight on our walk — they are living in the top floor!**
Finally, Stefan’s stuff was delivered yesterday and has consumed parts of the house. So the things are here, if not the man! Mufasa and I are going to Lake Geneva for almost a week tomorrow to visit a friend who lives in a small town, St Gingolph, on the southeast tip of the lake. We will go to the Montreux jazz festival Thursday and Friday nights, I think. I’m hoping it will be cool. Not like hip, happening, now, etc. but fewer degrees farenheit or celsius. Right now, none of the rest of it really matters.
Other happenings can be found at Fine Things…