LESLIE MCBRIDE WILE
13 January 2021
We’re having a proper winter, snowy and cold, the kind we haven’t seen for a couple of years. The landscape is just as it should be—snow-covered hills, bare branches—a perfect study in black on white, with skies blinding blue or low and somber. Temperatures night and day hover around freezing. We welcome this; it’s comforting to see that the weather, at least, is behaving appropriately while most everything else in the world is going wrong.
My husband and I attend to the business of January: he bottles wine and cleans the lawn mower; I strip kitchen cupboards and the fridge, scrub and replace everything. This morning we suspended the insurance on his little farm truck, which sits now in the fruttetto, snug under a tarpaulin and a foot of snow. We’ve begun the annual process of enrolling in the Italian healthcare network, and have received income tax prep materials from our accountant in the States. My pet project involves filling some very handsome albums with photos and what I choose to call artifacts of our life and travels since 1982 (hotel and restaurant bills, postcards, ferry schedules, cheese and wine labels, maps, and more). As always, we have plenty to keep us occupied and give us a sense of accomplishment at day’s end.
Today was especially warm and fine so we walked a favorite road above Vicoforte, then returned home for lunch on our terrace before the sun lost its warmth. We take pleasure in being together and in simple, quotidian tasks and routines, and we try to keep our conversations about the pandemic and politics to a minimum. It’s impossible to ignore the turmoil and suffering just beyond our small life here, but we hold fast to gratitude and hope for better days for those not so fortunate as we.