What a beautiful sight, those giant, black, storm clouds tumbling across the sky. And what a beautiful sound, that thunder – rumbling and rolling along with the clouds.
We’ve been in the midst of a long, excruciating drought in central Italy this summer – the worst seen here in who knows when. No rain to speak of for nearly three months (in the midst of the summer growing season) has been dreadful for farmers. Not to mention, those who have been affected by the multiple, daily forest fires in the last several weeks. Gorgeous Tuscany, Umbria and surrounding regions have become a drier-than-dry tinder box, ready to explode, and thousands of acres have been reduced to smoldering black ash.
But today we see the clouds, heavy with rain, and one can sense a collective sigh of relief across the boot that is Italy.
Interestingly, although there has been virtually nothing but talk of the drought for the past weeks, there’s been an admirable display of acceptance too. Not indifference – no, no – but acceptance of what is.
The endless festas (festivals) have gone on as usual. La festa contadina (peasant), la festa paglia (straw), la festa maiale brado (wild pig) and countless others – each with its particular food, entertainment, contests and music – are an anchor, of sorts. They are a steady, familiar tradition that reunites families and friends to celebrate a slice of life – and droughts, economic woes and other calamities are simply not invited.
My friends here in Fabro, have followed up their comments about the drought and the oppressive heat with a shrug of their shoulders, “È così,” they say. That’s the way it is. It’s an affirmation of their acceptance.
Then they ask, “Vieni a festa?” Are you coming to the festa?
With a handful of words they’re in essence saying, Look, it’s outside of my circle of influence, this drought, the lousy economy and so many other woes of the world. Let’s accept what is and celebrate the beauty of life together with friends and family, come what may. And so they do.
I’m grateful to live among the Fabrese – these distinctly Umbrian Italians who generously share their sensibility about life. Their ability to live in the moment is contagious, so when I find myself resisting what is I just wander down into town and pay them a visit.
Accepting what is brings a enormous sense of relief, doesn’t it?
It also makes the rain that’s finally heading our way all the more beautiful!
Pamela Haack is host of the Italy Retreat for Women Entrepreneurs (an event held annually for highly motivated, high-achieving women entrepreneurs) and founder of Off the Beaten Strada, where she creates and organizes personalized experiences and specialty retreats in Tuscany and Umbria, Italy, for travelers who wish to be immersed in the history, culture and traditions of the regions.