Tuesday, June 02, 2015


Via Toglia, Cardona, June 3, 2015—

A WEEK NOW since I've posted here, and I knew it would be thus: we've been in this hamlet in a tranquil corner of Monferrato, rather a backwater of Piemonte, for a family gathering; twenty-six of us at one point, and there's been neither time nor inclination to ruminate on things.

This morning, though, everything's packed away. We have this one more day in Italy; then fly home. Such transitional moments always leave me… not sad, exactly; I know the best moments will return, and that if they don't I most likely won't know it. Nor are emotions mixed. Such transitional moments put me in a suspended state of mind, observing and experiencing detachedly. I don't enjoy the present, for the most part; I bask in it, as I sit in the sun. To enjoy is to take: to take enjoyment used to be a common phrase, when English-speakers were perhaps both more honest and more discerning than they often are today. To bask is to participate, to merge.

Well, these dozen posts from Italy will have to do for now. I suppose I'll take up the thread again in a few days; I hate to leave you in a Roman tomb, when so many more contemporary conversations are to be shared. Sixteen thousand words isn't bad, if I may congratulate myself; and if you want to know where the last two weeks have taken us, you can find out at Eating Every Day… or by watching Dominique's video…

1 comment:

Curtis Faville said...

I suspect Henry James had a similar kind of response to travel.

I think he felt more comfortable, immersed in the writing of something he'd seen or experienced, slowly turning it over in his mind, speculating, mulling, meditating, and searching for the right phrases, the sequence of sentences that would satisfy his sense of how it needed to be shaped, understood, recalled, memorialized--than in the actual living of it.

It was possible for James literally to "live inside" language (or his mind) more fully, perhaps, than he lived "in the present."

Perhaps that is what you are saying here.