This was a movie from 1991. I don't remember the movie itself, now. I thought it was a good title for this blog post.
In 2014 I was living in Florence and my boyfriend, Francesco, lived in Chicago. The cities, our working schedules, the things to do were killing us. We were looking for a place to stay together - any quiet place in the World.
The opportunity to live and work in Barbialla Nuova fell in our hands and we decided that this was the answer to our dreams and needs. Just me, you and the cows, a hundred of angel-like cows spotting the green pastures with their white hair. Ready? Set. Go.
What did we know about the countryside? The things we had learned when we were children and we spent our summers in our grandparents' homes. Nothing, I would say now.
Barbialla Nuova is an awesome place. Everywhere you are, you're surrounded by fields, hills and calanchi. The nearest groups of houses are far away from the farm. Only tractors and light wires remind you that you are not in the middle age. In Barbialla you can walk five minutes, sit on the deck and be part of the lake life, with frogs and fish jumping all around you and the swallows flying down on the surface to drink. Silence is deafening and the stars are big, too numerous to count.
Did you ever see a white poplar blooming? A zucchini plant growing up so fast that you can actually see it growing? Did you ever eat sun-ripened tomatoes straight from their plant? Pick-up blackberries as big as walnuts, smelled the scent of the just-picked hay, or a white truffle from the dirt of the woods? Walk in the moonlight or experienced the dark, the real one? This is the part of this experience that I already knew, the one I was looking for, that nourished me everyday for five years.
And then the rest comes. I did not expect it, at all: I thought I would have worked and enjoyed the rest of the time surrounded by beauty. City slicker.
Land gives, land takes. You have to plant the veggie garden and water it every day, cut the grass, feed the chickens and clean their coop, not be too friendly with the cows because you’ll be sad when they leave, mix life and work, work and life, until you realize that the limit is so fleeting that it is just a wall that you built in your head. You have to welcome and adapt to the others, take care of their needs, give yourself as a present, but not too much, try to define the limit - the limit, again, maybe life is also working on limits? You have to manage, organize, wait, hold off your sense of responsibility and your control mania, remember that beyond the to-do-list, there are trees and flowers and beauty.
And then you take the rhythm, you ride it, you almost dance with it. You feel that you have arrived at that precise point, that you gave a lot and you got even more, you feel that the person that you were is no more there, there's another one now, forged by life and by Barbialla, and so you're ready to come back to the world, to live a new great adventure which will bring you somewhere you can't imagine, again.
I thank all the people that shared this adventure with me: Guido, Tina and their children, Antonio, Frank, Zuma and Francesca, Toni, Debora, Sara, Mariateresa, Angela, Enrica, Colombo, Silvia, Martin, Alain and Arianna, Simone and Simone, Christian, Kyre and Ivano, Luca by A Terra, Luciano and Officinalia's team, the team of Zefiro, Raffaella, Simone and Francesco by Desinare, the Bar Alberi, Gerardo, Mike and Steph, and all “my” guests.
And now good luck to Jill & Jason and their family, who just started their adventure in Barbialla.