LESLIE MCBRIDE WILE
I could quote Sweet Baby James to tell you about the first of December, go on to describe the hush and sweep of falling snow, how it dropped a curtain between house and valley and filled our cortile overnight. I could regale you with current details of red zones and orange and yellow; of shops closed, opened, closed again; of restrictions on travel, dining out, meeting in public; of curfews and Christmas Eve midnight masses that began at 7:30 pm. I could write about new cases of coronavirus, the death toll, local hospital capacity, or try to explain–to the best of my limited understanding–exactly how the Italian government intends to vaccinate us all. I might even try to draw a line under 2020, make a summation, wax insightful about the year that ends tonight.
Instead I’ll share an album of images from our year, which gave us much to be grateful for. After my husband returned safely home from Africa on 19 March and we emerged from quarantine, our life went on almost as it might have done without a global pandemic. Once we accepted the inescapable fact of it, the virus was rather like the weather—dress for it, and don’t fight it. We socialized less and in different ways, travelled less often but managed walks in val Ellero and val Varaita, a day at Celle Ligure and two in the Langhe. We toured the Lakes with old friends, satisfying a need for connection and a change of scenery. We gardened, harvested, planted, and built. We bought locally to support farmers and merchants, contributed what we could to help those suffering or in need, and gave thanks every day for life, love, and the good fortune that landed us in this pleasant country town between mountains and the sea.