Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Good Life

I woke up to the sounds of an accordian being played this morning by my quite elderly (late 80's) neighbor who was also singing along. A French love song he told me ... it had been his wife's favorite and now he sings it to his great-grand daughter. A large portion of the family lives in the 4 story house across the canal from me. He lives downstairs with his daughter, the daughter's daughters live on the next two floors with their husbands and one of their daughters and husband and children live on the top floor.
Family is everything here. And every morning they are all out, as soon as the sun comes up, raking leaves and working in the garden. There are no better gardeners than Italian men ...  although I suspect the women are, actually, just as good but in a really stealthy way. There is never a leaf out of place ... a weed left un-plucked ... or a blade of grass that is just a tad too long. And the flowers are amazing. The scent of jasmine wars with the fragrance of the magnolias and the roses. It is heaven.
And they laugh ... all day. It is hot here in a way that I had forgotten summer could be. With humidity you could cut with a knife. So, the Italians live outside all day in the summer in the shade. They laugh and the children play and then they squabble and the adults help them figure it out and life goes on ... loudly and publicly in a way that most of the world has forgotton.
At lunch time it was too hot to cook so I went to the restaurant across the street from our house where I was, by far, the youngest person there. The owner, our friend Stefano, came over to talk and asked how I was enjoying the weather. I said it was just too hot for me ... that at night it was too sweaty and sticky to sleep. His solution, which he yelled across the room to me and which had all of the other patrons nodding and laughing was " You must remember then to make love under the shower and not in the bed!"
Yep, life lived fully and without reservation ... that is the beauty of living here.