Scrinch scrunching in the snow. The world silent and soft, surrounded in a white haze, gentle flakes caressing your face and freezing your hair. That day of snow falling endlessly was so beautiful. We walked up to Bagni Caldi delighting in the mysterious panoramas surrounding us, and down to Ponte a Serraglio, more beautiful than ever.
The power lines came down that day as well. Two big pines broke in half and onto the lines on the hill above Ponte a Serraglio. The area was several hours without electricity. You forget how vulnerable you can be. No one can go anywhere, there’s a blizzard out there, and your house depends on electricity. We have gas for our heating and we were surprised that it was also hooked up to the power. So no heat. We kept thinking as we put on another layer of clothing, how much more independent we are up in Pieve, where if the power goes off, you still have the wood fires and candles, water straight from the mountain into the village well….
Today it is a bright bright world. A bright blue sunny sky is shimmering on the white snow, slowly melting and turning to ice. All the terraces climbing the hills are delineated, white and black and you see how it must have all been, all gardened for food. Today it is overgrown with acacia that the farmers now harvest to sell wood. It used to be gardens and chestnut trees and the local people subsisted very well until the trees were diseased and the war made people desperate to leave and seek a greater fortune. Factories making little statuettes and paper factories are the income that’s left and both of these are struggling as they compete with China to produce their products the cheapest. It keeps the wages low and the people poor.
In the meantime, a beautiful place is cocooned and protected from ugly development as most people work in the cities or where there is industry. Never is it more obvious than today in its shroud of white waiting for the spring to return it to its former glory.