Under the Tuscan Sun

June 21 2017

On the Tuscan Farm of Giorgio & Peola in the province of Scansano
Main Farm Produce: Olive Oil &Maremma Wine

We push our noise into the tranquility of this place. Don’t get me wrong—for the first time, this isn’t a quiet tranquility I’m talking about. As a matter of fact, this is a place of incessant noise; noise that seems louder than Rome was, louder than Barcelona, louder than the noisy restaurants with silverware clanking and smart cars tooting on the streets for passerby.

These eternal hills suck up our noise. The swishing of water in the pool, the shouts, and the clamor; all sucked up into the amphitheater of the country, falling flat in my ears, gone after the impact.

The air seems still, yet the wind can be heard for miles, like a roaring hush through grain, grass, green trees. Grasshoppers play their violins, beetles click, birds twitter like schoolchildren with secrets. This is a loud place. The absence of sound realizes the great hush of the world, and we are lost in it like the sound of this wind in a city, unacknowledged. The country sucks up our noise and throws it back at us like vengeance, like blood. This is where you come from it says, do you remember?

Flies are buzzards, the air rushing off their back jet-streams. The flapping of the umbrella, the hum of the sun. The flowers are growing and withering and I can hear them.

This morning we all sat down at the large table in the kitchen and ate a typical Tuscan breakfast prepared by Giorgio’s family, who live in the house next to ours. His mother, who lives on the top half of his house with his father, made the pear juice we enjoyed, thick like applesauce, not too sweet. We ate crisp sourdoughs softened with a thin layer of tomato sauce and some basil, eggs straight from the hen house, and plates of fromaggio and carpaccio. Plates of sweet biscotti, fig breads, and lemon cakes decorated the table. Mom, Pop, and I had coffees while the kids sucked up juice. The prune jelly in small glass jars, like wine. Honey from the hills. Salami and olive oil, one container for fish and vegetables, and one for meat.

After breakfast, Kira and I digested by the pool and then headed off on a run. Curious to explore the road we hadn’t taken to the property, we started off towards the right, farther through the mountain. The dirt road was worn into two bumpy lines, the path of tractor wheels and smart cars the size of large shoes. Half a mile down the road was the last farm, where giant bulls stared us in the eyes and horse stables swarmed with flies. We walked the end of the deserted property to look over the rolling valley, pocked with olive trees and rolled out into pastures, crops, orchards. A lone bull’s shadow rippled in the distance with the heat waves. Soon enough, clusters of flies were buzzing around our sweaty animal bodies and we dashed back the way we came as fast as possible, swatting flies from our mouths and noses all the way.

We spent the rest of the morning enjoying the property, basking under the Tuscan sun, running through the barn and the haystacks, playing in the pool. The wind picked up and the great noise pulled us into it. We were alone. Giorgio was off tending the farm, his family out of sight. We were by the pool and could only be heard when close by, echoes lost in wild wind, killed in the crevices of the building, assassinated by flowers.

 

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