Forget the Euro and the price of oil, the mergers and strategic joint adventures; let us plunge back through the pinhole of reality. Italy, vineyards, grapes, fresh food. The life you’ve dreamed.
All through the year these pages divulge personal ardor for things Italian, some real and some imagined. But there comes a time when it just doesn’t matter which is which. What we are dealing with, here and now, is the awareness of an Italy that transcends time and space. I’m sure there are cynics lurking around the dark corners of some Chinon-soaked bar, just waiting to pounce on another man’s dreams. Those people are dead to themselves. I say, dream and live, and live the dream.
Abruzzo in the summer of 2008 is looking like the archetypical pastoral Italy of the 1970’s, the 1740’s, of hundreds or thousands of years ago, or sometime in the future. It is timeless beauty. There’s no reason to shun it or criticize those who love it for its own sake. Look, even if you never make it to Italy, you can still reap the joys of the harvest of the heart. The fool in the corner is kicking a cat and spitting out blood, and then expects us to revere his bleak judgments, because it is contrary and has a gravitas that is attention seeking. But the blind old man is living alone in his tree house in a sunless country. Look around you, sunflowers don’t grow in hell.
I am in awe of my Italian friends who live this way, an everyday occurrence. Along with that there is a fecundity in the air, the soil, the bounty. This is no accident. This is no illusion; there is no corporate nudge moving things along in a timeline to become the biggest, the best, the longest, the hardest. It is all in a flow of collaborative providence.
Do you ever wonder, if you are somehow involved in the world of wine, whether it be in a restaurant or a wine store, or as a salesperson in a distributorship or as a rep for an importer, why sometimes the wine runs out?
I am more surprised that it doesn’t run out more often. We bully and bloviate over some contessa who deigns to swim in the sea for a month or more, as if our mission statements or business plans were so much more important. I remember the story of the Italian Prince and his magic cellar and just stop. Inside, the word "cancel" pops up, my mantra which interrupts the chatty little monkey running around my brain. Who in the hell are we in America to say what the Italians should or shouldn’t do?
The wine will come when it comes, just like the tomatoes and the figs. If not, there is a McDonald’s down the avenue. Go, get your fill.
And if you truly can follow the advise of Mr. Thoreau and “live the life you’ve dreamed,” then this doesn’t seem so odd, so pie-in-the-sky. The disparager in the darkness cannot tempt you to drink his bitter drink of vinegar and bile. He’s invisible, has no secrets, no leverage.
“Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” Another Thoreau insight. Italy is full of the meat of life, filled with the marrow of passion, grab a rib and hold on. There is only one life; there is no time left to kill.
Thanks for the photos from Jeff and Audree Miller