I told myself I would try to keep the memories alive after I returned and one way to do that is with this blog. I was looking back through some old posts and I think this blog is better than I was giving myself credit for. Especially after Spring Break I begin to develop my thoughts a little more. I’m grateful that I stayed pretty on top of it too because I can keep it and look back on it…
One thing it seems to be lacking, my brother said when he visited, was to give a real feeling for Perugia; what was the setting and the feeling of the place where I was living my life each day? I’m not going to try to give that to you directly, as it’s something I seem to have trouble with, or maybe it’s just too much effort for a Sunday morning, but I will again refer to one of my creative writing pieces.
This is a “Spirit of Place” essay. We were supposed to capture a city through a reflection on something else, one particular descriptor. Perugia is a city of chocolate (the Perugina factory, the Eurochocolate festival in October), Jazz (Umbria Jazz festival in July), stone, and those infamous duomo steps. I chose to personify Perugia (focusing on the weather) and I was not the only one. One remarkable thing about that place is that she is so human, so clearly a female with a history and a temperament, and everyone who lives there can feel it. While I lived there, I called her a temptress, a bitch, likened her to a glorious bride, and when I left, I hoped I could call her a friend of my soul; Perugia.
For the last three months, Perugia has been in a bad mood.
Her sprawling gray arms were spread lackadaisically across the hillside and her vast horizon was set into a tight grimace. Trees withered and hid as the sun left her behind, too proud to put up with her fierce temper.
Sometimes she cried, clouding over white grey skies and streaking the ground with mud and rain. Sometimes she grumbled about the misery of it all in flashes of anger and rumbles of sound.
Her cobblestone train reached out with jagged edges to scrape my ankles. It grasped tightly at my calves as I walked her narrow streets. The buildings hunched over me, in those lanes of grey, leaning in towards me, windows peering warily, piercing through this uninvited stranger.
Her children were all wrapped up in themselves, never giving me more than the briefest of glances.
But yesterday something changed about her; the rough spell began to pass. She slowly stretched out her arms and opened her eyes. The sun tentatively peeked in on her with his long awaited hello.
Last night a stranger talked to me from her table outside a restaurant. She asked me where I was going and why I looked so sad. Today an old man smiled as we passed in the street, pressed into each other’s space by a passing car in a narrow lane. Today my legs were free to climb the inviting hills without pain or fear. Today the sun shined merrily, dancing across the vibrant streets.
Curtains of color adorned her backbone, Corso Vanucci, bustling with life. Today Perugia greeted me with the warmest of hellos, not at all bashful at her prior disposition.
Today Perugia made me feel at home in her arms, at least for a while, until next winter comes…