There is a new breath in the world today. The breath of winter is upon us. Last week we ventured from the middle lands towards the northeast to find the flat plains enveloped in a haze and fog from the several weeks of calm warm mid Autumn.
Farmers tilled their fields, pruned hedges and trees and burnt the still green cuttings creating soft white smoke throughout the regions from Marche north to Friuli and west to Lombardy. The view from the low hills of the Pre-Alps was of a countryside lost in the haze. No towns and the distant hills maybe no longer existed.
Overnight on Friday a breeze arrived, an unexpected but welcome visitor and with it on Saturday, some drops were squeezed out of the grey sky. Driving back south through Bologna and Tuscany the skies became heavier till the Lazio hills presented their expected darkened cool grey afternoon and rains rolling over the tops and through the valleys.
Our return to the hill-town of San Giorgio di Perlena opened a vista of the Veneto mountains unseen this year. Montegrappa, that possibly could be in English ‘Mount Gran Pa’, the old man of the Pre-Alps, the Nonno of the hills people, is actually an old lady. Nonna is bent over facing the East with a brand new white shawl draped over her shoulders and trailing behind her as she trudges towards the sea. What began as a veil has deepened into the first full coat of an early winter.
Just two thirds through a northern autumn, we welcome a day that is calm, windless, in which the belltowers including those of Schiavon, Longo, Sandrigo, Nove, the higher Cartigliano, and to the left, Breganze stand like sentinels in a pure sunlit day, each providing a rotating belt of shade over its citizens. To the north, in the low hills the church of San Giorgio stands pround and above it half way to stands the tower of Lusiana.
Yet today our eyes are drawn to Montegrappa and the feeling of peace that it shares with its Veneto residents and visitors every year she dons her winter vestiture. Clothing that covers the naked history of this region and brings songs and sleep to the hills, while those of us on the plains without her view, remain trapped buying, selling, building and destroying in the enveloping dark of a society that awaits its re-awakening.
Look up and find a piece of life.