Saturday, 21 March 2015

First Day of Spring, 2015

The black-hooded hordes swarm around the world, spreading terror, murder and destruction.
The Light shines in the darkness; and the darkness can never put it out...

There are all kinds of reasons to hope; spring of course is one of them.
Still cold here in Bari (down to 2 degrees C last night) but during the day now brilliant blue skies and many a sheltered corner where the locals of Puglia (and visitors like us) can sit in the sun.

We make short-term plans for the next few months. The torn tendon in my shoulder puts a damper on some activities but it is surprising how much I can still do.
Cooking here is great fun, many a new as yet untasted food... Not to mention the wines. Superb choice. We are moored close to one of the Italian slow-food shops rejoicing in the name of Eataly. It is both a wondrous emporium (truly!) and a very fine and not too expensive restaurant. The seating is simple, no linen cloths and serviettes. The food is excellent. Very fresh, you can taste the air of the green hillsides... (well, something like that!). We usually cook and eat on the boat, but sometimes after a long day, eat a pizza at one of the nearby restaurants.

David is re-wiring the boat and discovering many tiny details that he wishes to improve. I read Italian (have now advanced to Manzoni's I Promesi Sposi, acknowledged first great novel in Italian, compulsory reading for all high-school students!). Not being a high-school student, I am enjoying it. What a lot I have learned since first arriving in Torino in April 2006.

The evenings lengthen and in a couple of weeks we'll get our extra hour of light. More reasons for hope. The Light, I am sure, can never be extinguished. Yell this loud from the tops of high hills!
Pray in the quiet of our inner stillness (whatever ... it has no name...). A few rambling thoughts from the bouncing waves...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Spring and mimosa in southern Italy

Well, it has certainly been a long, cold winter ... but today David and I sat munching lunch in the back cockpit of our boat, gently rocking on a more or less glassy sea, warmed by the early sun of spring, listening to the voices of the Italian boaties nearby ... and felt we really had made the right decision to come here.
That said, of course, world news continues to be pretty depressing. So I just mention Tunisia and Israel. ... before moving on to more cheering topics.

I spent a wonderful week in Greece, visiting Ioannina where I had never been before, and the stunning landscape around Megallo Meteora. (I put some pix on Facebook.) During that period the seas raged and the winds blew back here in Bari, so I was glad to be elsewhere.
Since my return it hasn't been too wonderful. But today, 18 March, in preparation for the arrival of Primavera in two days' time ... ecco, un cielo azurro azurro!
We begin to feel at home here in the Bari area, meet some locals (I continue my inspiring Italian lessons) and every day we cook or consume the most delicious Pugliese food. What a joy: we love the little sentence in Eataly that runs, la vita e troppo breve per mangiare male which translated word for word is: life is too short to eat poorly/badly, or in slightly more English English: life is too short not to eat well!!

Then there is the sky above the vast sea; this makes all things good. Even if deep grey and cloud-lowering... it is always changing and the sunsets are often a watery delight.
So now back to Pirandello, my elevated Italian literature... I forgot to mention the little problem I am presently enduring with my right shoulder (pulled a tendon in November) but that isn't the main concern of my life! It may take over a year to heal completely, so I do my exercises and wonder...
And of course I am writing little poems and so forth in my sealskin black book.

Here's one I wrote in Greece:
The meaning of an Ithaca

Why do I weep?
I came across your pencilled copy of Cavafy's poem about travelling to Ithaca;
written on a sheet of paper in your eccentric Gothic hand...
we could not find it to read when we sailed there last summer.
So instead, I wrote some lines titled Sailing past Itaki, which began:
'We did not land...'
But we did.

We have lived seventy years and it seemed time for us
to stitch up our joys and sufferings
and to arrive.
Tomorrow I travel without you to the north of Greece
to the place where Zeus ruffles the oak leaves
and those who wish to, listen.

(Wendie, 26 February 2015)