Wednesday, January 12, 2011


As fate would have it, on the plane ride back there were no crashes, thanks to my magic travel shirt--the one Z told me to buy that keeps the plane aloft, and without which I could go nowhere. Further, of the many films on offer, I first chose a sweetly sentimental French one, "La Tete en Friche," starring Gerard Depardieu, and then "Eat, Pray, Love." Not yet having read the book, I had heard that the Italy section was the best, and I could see why. But as an Italian resident, although I loved it as much as the next person, I found it maybe even more sentimental than the French film.

One line from "Eat, Pray, Love" rang out as so memorable that I had to write it down. "A ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation." It is an opportunity to create something new that builds on the old, paying it due homage, but making it your own.

When we first met with Luca at the bank about getting a mortgage, all of the nuances of that vocabulary were new to me. In describing our plan, I was trying to use the word for renovate, but he insisted on "Ristrutturare," which can be quite a mouthful for someone just getting her sea legs in Italian "bankease." 

All of the French and English uses of "re" words from my Proust article now come rushing back to me, without my having to search for them, but I will save those comments for a future entry. I may then include some thoughts from the current selection of our book group, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog." A line from that book that called out to me is
"True novelty is that which does not grow old, despite the passage of time."

                                                     Winter watch in Umbria

I am struck by the preternatural beauty of the house in the frigid gray light of winter as snowflakes fall. Ever the scavenger, I pick up some semi-frozen apples and kiwis and admire the winter garden greens as I munch a delicious piece of parsley and try to rescue some plants that had no business being outside at such a time. I stop to admire the beautiful bones of the property and check the labels on what's left of the new-to-me plantings. I see that they cut down some trees that I think I will miss--especially my favorite cherry tree. But it feels good to give up control to those who know better. And also to know that in what we have done here, we have rescued something of substance--ristrutturato--that will endure.

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