Tuesday, 8 February 2011


It was a carnival of masks. Not Venetian masks, delicate and stately as the palazzi themselves, but of the grooved and veined wood of the mountains, with expressions contorted and weathered as the valleys themselves. One of the winning masks had machinations of wood protruding from a grainy forehead. Is it the isolation? Does the silence and the spinning views make one think of this?

We sat on the steps of this steep and furrowed village, the sun on pulleys slipping behind the serrated peaks gradually softening, darkening as the chill settled.

In a bar men began to sing mountain songs as I pushed away the idea of getting drunk and attempting to drive. But grappa with berries is hard to resist. So is standing around a fire, stomping one's feet, too lazy to hike down to the car for a jacket.

This divorcée is warm. The crisp air makes me feel strong and ripe. At 6 that very morning I was feeding a child who will soon be taller than me, loading the car with ski gear for the race, pulling away along the dark winding roads as the dawn marked out the peak of Civetta, and my son told me so. Look at it Mum, look at the sun up there.

I feel it is a stark privilege to see these things and how I hold them close.

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