Saturday, August 14, 2010

in which the soul selects

Lago di Garda is a beautiful lake, surprisingly beautiful. We stayed on the somewhat wilder west side – wilder because the hills and cliffs lay closer to the water, making the coast in general less habitable and necessitating dozens of tunnels, some brief, some drawn out and dark. Years of trickling rain and exhaust make the walls and roofs look like they've been stamped with Mark Rothko paintings, with their abstract, coffinesque, repetitive shapes.

It being August, I read a lot of Wallace Stevens. He fit in perfectly with the weather and the landscape. His Florida, my Italy. His palm and mine. I didn’t even get around to looking at the four other poetry books I’d brought with me. Why fool around?

My Italian did improve as the days went by. The truth is I was selective, as people often are when it comes to foreign languages, i.e. if I didn’t want to talk to someone, I played dumb. If I did want to, or I needed something, those great clumps of earth under which my Italian was buried sloughed over, and I became resourceful and inventive.

I didn’t miss the oil spill, nor the celebrity news. I didn’t miss work or Starbucks or my brand of chewing gum or my iPod or public transportation or Facebook. I didn’t even miss the neighborhood church bells or well-stocked supermarket. I did miss my room a little, with the wisteria growing into the window.


Nic Sebastian said...

I spent a whole summer on the Lago di Garda when I was a student, sauntering endlessly up and down the lungolago looking for (and not, that I recall, finding) whatever students endlessly look for. Hope your stay was more satisfying -- sounds like it was!

SarahJane said...

Hi Nic -
A whole summer would be nice, though I'd wish for better digs, and even our basic apartment wasn't cheap. Which town were you in?
I think in general you have to bring whatever you are looking for... laugh. I found my Italian, for example!

Dominic Rivron said...

Lakes... You've got me thinkin g lakes... I like lakesides - so I'd probably like it there, although I tend to get no further than the UK's Lake District! (Coniston Water, for example).

Kathleen said...

Wallace Stevens and James Bond! Yay! (Son and I just re-watched Quantum of Solace recently, so that stretch of road was familiar!)

And "solace" is my coincidence blog word for today.

Sherry O'Keefe said...

"his palm and mine".

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