24 July 2016

Ten days ago, I persuaded myself that I was in excellent health and on we cycled through the apple orchards and vineyards to the weekly market in Merano.
A large affair selling everything from the kitchen sink to exquisitely sweet cherries, apricots, Tyrolean speck and fresh borlotti beans.

I knew I was in deep denial after about 15 minutes and decided to sit down below the statue of Andreas Hofer for the next hour or so, while the others bought ridiculously cheap trekking boots, more apricots, jars of nuts packed in honey and fresh Schüttelbrot.

Via dei portici, Merano

I am trying to remember what we did next. Lunch was involved and more cycling.

bridge over Passirio

church Lagundo Paese

 I recall that I sang at the top of my voice.

Una festa sui prati
Una bella compagnia
Panini, vino un sacco di risate
E luminosi sguardi di ragazze innamorate
Ma che bella giornata
Siamo tutti buoni amici
Ma chi lo sa perché domani questo può finire
Vorrei sapere perché domani ci dobbiamo odiare.

(A picnic
in wonderful company,
bread wine, lots of laughter
The smiling faces of people falling in love
What a beautiful day
We are all good friends
But who knows, tomorrow this may all end
Tomorrow we may all hate each other)
Adriano Celentano

A couple of days later, another apple orchard, after driving north for six hours, slowly uphill and crossing the steep Passo del Rombo where we stuck our sandal clad feet into the snow at 2,500 m and ran from the icy winds back into the car, laughing.

Passo del Rombo

Now we are four generations sitting under my grandmother's apple trees, my father the central presence like a rock, observing and directing, we, his underlings, pass around coffee, cakes, toddlers, gossip. Earlier I had discovered a black leather box, forgotten in one of my father's massive sideboards and now we sift through  photographs of my paternal grandparents some of them over 100 years old. My father cannot understand our delight and decides that I take the lot with me as my share of the his estate. He loves to talk about his estate and how he will distribute it, forgetting that he already did this years ago (for tax reasons) but my brother is convinced there may be hidden treasures apart from my grandmother's china and cutlery, the large hall clock and his shiny car. 

On our drive home, the last leg of our tour, later that night, my body starts sending me urgent shrill messages of feeling unwell but I blame the car's air conditioning. The next morning, I am determined to ignore them but they sit there like a growing pile of dirty laundry. Stubbornly, I go to work and pretend for a while longer to be in control before finally crawling home after picking up yet another sick cert and a prescription for antibiotics (pharyngitis so I am told). And still, I push ahead like one of these battery powered toy clowns: laundry, kitchen floor, emergency translations, excel sheets for the boss, while my throat is on fire and my body breaks out in sweats and shivers.
Three days I play this game. Until finally I stretch out on the sitting room sofa, the doors wide open to the garden, green jungle dripping after a night of heavy rain, listening to the comforting noises from the fridge in the kitchen telling me that it is time to let go of any striving.


  1. Such a beautiful journey with many vistas (both internal and external!). I love the line, "now we are four generations sitting under my grandmother's apple trees..." Words sometimes conjure more than photo can capture. Hope you are feeling better, Sabine.

  2. '...telling me that it is time to let go of any striving.'

    And to be sure there's nothing wrong about that, nothing at all. It's what we eventually earn by virtue of the expenditure of age and experience.


  3. If you have to be in deep denial you've selected beautiful surroundings for it! You sound like the energizer bunny "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking!" Lovely tour you took us on....Hope you're feeling a little less denial, stronger and more cheerful.

  4. Such beauty on your journey and comfort in being home when you are not feeling well. Love the moon high in the day sky. That moon is familiar to me. There appears to be an inscription on the stone in the lower left in the photo with the moon. I'm wondering what it says. Sending love.

  5. I'm glad you let go, hopefully enough to get past this pharyngitis! Looks like you had some spectacular outings despite your fluctuating health. And how great that you found those photos! Can you share some with us? I'd love to see them. I have some of my own grandparents that I collected from my mom when I was in Florida, and I'm going to make a post with them one of these days.

  6. Thank you. I am on the mend, thanks to antibiotics and another week of prescribed rest at home,

    am - the inscription is just the name of the farm where the path leads to.

    Steve - I will share the photos once I have sorted and scanned them. Or rather, once my man has done that because scanning is his thing.