Greetings from Mondovì: A few words



A few words—very few–as any attempt by me to make sense of or draw neat conclusions about 2021 seems presumptuous, futile, and redundant.  It’s been a year, four seasons and 365 days, events unique and mundane, day following night following day.  Comforting in its inevitability; by turns horrifying, hopeful, maddening, worrisome, exhilarating, discouraging.

I have read very little, written less, hampered by cataracts and a dying laptop and impelled to more physical pursuits by . . . what?  Pandemic fatigue, anxiety, mortality closing fast . . . take your pick.  Or maybe the simple animal pleasures of being outdoors–walking, gardening—mindlessly mindful of sun and wind, birdsong, scents of earth and plants.

Mostly we stayed close to home, but as Italy began to open regional borders and relax travel restrictions we drove to Liguria in June for a change of scene and a seafood lunch.  Fully vaccinated in May, we flew to the States in July for sweet reunions with family and friends.  A dear friend came to visit in August.  September found us at the old harbor of Savona; in October we met friends at Casale Monferrato, then continued to Lago d’Orta for the weekend.  One perfect sunny November day we walked a mountain trail through golden woodlands, finding a picnic spot with spectacular views clear to the far Italian Alps and not another soul around.

We said goodbye to Dora the Ford Explorer, a bit sadly but knowing it was time.  We planted a new lilac, some hydrangeas, hundreds of bulbs for spring flowering.  And it seems our long-deferred hot tub project is finally underway, if the bulldozer parked outside our cantina is any indication.  So it goes—farewell to Joan Didion and others, welcome to new arrivals, new projects, hopes for the future.  It’s been a year.

Wishing you good health and the enjoyment of it, interesting work, gratitude, laughter, and most of all love—that indispensable engine of human perseverance.