Sunday, August 26, 2012


Where has everybody gone? They were here all month, the patter of feet above my hot particles, constantly, back and forth; running, dragging, shuffling, hopping. Now all I feel is the drone of the tractor with the rake attachment, straightening up my bumps and ruts, removing the little vagrant pieces of seaweed and candy wrappers. Is August over already?

Every year it is like this. Around June they start coming. In July they increase in numbers. A little more during the day and a few more at night. And then August comes and it’s nonstop all day and all night long.

Now I wonder what will happen. I don’t know why I do, it’s always the same. September will come and most of them will be up in the hills and the valleys, tending to their grapes and their vineyards. Those grapes exert such an influence that my universe of grains and the moon cannot hold onto them. They abandon me little by little. By September a few still come out, mainly the Germans and the Scandinavians, a few wayward Americans. But the Italians, they forsake me utterly. First they love me, can’t get enough of me. Then they are gone. Just like that. Picking and crushing and pressing grapes, to turn into juice and then to wine.

October will come and then November. My long stretches will cool and chill and no one will dip their toes into the water that has been eroding my figure for thousands, millions of years. Still there is enough of me left in June to bring them back. Every year it is the same story. They love me, they flock to me, eat with me, make love on top of me, run with me, cry with me, change their babies diapers on me, sing and dance and drink their wine over me. Every year, just like clockwork, just like the tides and the phases of the moon. What is it about those grapes and that wine that takes them away from me?

And not just me, but the rooms nearby, and the boats. And the restaurants with the wonderfully fresh seafood, cooked perfectly, grilled, fried, charcoaled, steamed, marinated, boiled. In pasta, in salads, on their own, in soups, stews and casseroles. And the wines to go with them. The Trebbianos and Cococciolas and Verdicchios and Viogniers and Vermentinos and Vernaccias and Pigatos and on and on. It’s as if all the white wine made from those hills behind me felt the calling to the shore along with the people who made the wine, and made their way to enjoy the holiday and the party and the families and the gatherings and the merrymaking.

I shouldn’t resent them a little time away from me. In the end, they all come back, to the shore. In June, July and August, to spend their time with me doing nothing, recharging their batteries and their souls, filling their tummies with the bounty from the sea and the harvest from the land. Bronzing their funny little bodies and wearing their fashionably skimpy swim suits. Or sometimes late at night, under a bright moon, nothing at all.

I guess I shouldn’t complain or at least it shouldn’t sound like a complaint. After all there are shores elsewhere that have bullet-riddled bodies washing up on them. Or deserts with cities where young men are killing each other with powerful guns. The waves whisper to me about all of this. I don’t know where, but the waves have been whispering this for eons, the malingering deeds of the human soul. Here, the worse that I can descry is a man yelling at his kids or some youth burning a fire at night by the water and leaving the scarred remains of a tree truck and some trash. All the while with their music and their wine.

No, I really am grateful to be this stretch of beach on the coast, where these wonderfully emotional people come and plop down on me for the summer, with their love and their songs and their wine and their laughter and their drama. I just wish when August was over that they wouldn’t abandon me. I hope, for all our sakes, that they stick with the grapes and not join the ones with the guns and the bombs and the hatred. And I do hope someday, next year, in June, they will return, again.

written and photographed by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy

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