Glimpses

March 21, 2022  

I walk the streets at night. The dog pulls me along. Up Via del Duomo with empty tables being taken in, one or two guests still sitting inside with their glass of wine. Otherwise alone.  But then I think I hear steps, someone arriving from behind me. A shadow overtakes me, continues up beyond me. But the shadow is mine. I remain alone. In the piazza two people suddenly appear and take photos of the cathedral before moving on, dark unidentifiable silhouettes.  Yesterday creeps up, overtakes me, moves into tomorrow.

March 25, 2022

A warm spring day and the sun shines on a cobblestone street where a man in jeans and worn denim jacket is pushing a frail elderly man in a wheelchair. They stop in front of the entrance to a B&B and the man, one senses he’s not Italian, puts the brakes on the chair and goes in. Five minutes later he comes down with three children trailing behind. They look a bit uncertain as they keep their eyes on him. The well-dressed man in the wheelchair, obviously also not Italian, smiles at them but conversation is impossible for the children apparently don’t speak Italian. Yet communication exists. The older children shyly nod and look questioningly at this person in a wheelchair. But the littlest one, certainly not yet three, dances around singing and laughing and then offers him a piece of chocolate. Ukraina, they say, and the man who seems to be the caretaker of the well-dressed man explains that the owner of the B&B has offered them hospitality for they have fled their native country and left ruins and the horrors of war behind.

March 26, 2022 

Saturday evening, ten o’clock. The cars have retired for the day, giving way to people. The quiet is lacerated every so often by the joyous shriek of a child. It is they who have taken over. You walk up the street and a little one comes racing towards you, apparently alone, with a slightly older sibling chasing after her. But no, the man calmly ambling along at least twenty paces behind must be the father, nonchalant, unconcerned, for the street is all theirs, it now all belongs to the little ones, or to their older sisters and brothers, certainly no more than 14 or 16 years old, clamoring as they tumble out of coffee bars in groups, mostly boys, rough housing, or girls in practically non-existent mini-skirts showing off their long bare legs.  There are adults but they all seem to be wheeling baby carriages, their offspring still too small, not yet self sufficient, to take off on their own. It’s night but light flows out from the coffee bars, the shops closed for the night. It invades the street, and one wonders if darkness still exists, illuminated only by the moon and with a star-studded sky.

4 thoughts on “Glimpses

  1. I love these slices of Orvieto life, especially now that I’m temporarily viewing them from a distance.

    A favorite moment here, in addition to all of March 21: “The quiet is lacerated every so often by the joyous shriek of a child.” It takes a real poet to put these words together. They take on extra meaning in the context of “Ukraina” and the child’s generously tendered piece of chocolate, and the gift of shelter in time of need.

    Like

  2. Erika

    This post of glimpses of Orvieto takes me right back there. I love the Ukrainian children dancing about The wheelchair. You tell the global Ukrainian story and that vignette.

    I’ll write more soon-🌹Parsing out my energy.

    James

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  3. Three delicate vignettes: it’s a pleasure to read these Erika. I find myself wondering especially about the Ukrainians – what they have been through, what lies ahead.

    Like

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