|photo credit: Dario Cavallotto|
The photo was taken in the Quartino di Loazzolo, between the small villages of Cessole and Bubbio, not too far from the hometown of the great writer Cesare Pavese. We made our first extended stay in Italy, from March through May 2010, in Cessole, working for our room and board on an organic vineyard/farm/agriturismo B&B, while our son spent part of the day at a pre-school (which he loved) in the neighboring village of Monastero Bormida.
The slender trees with the white trunks in the background are young pioppi (poplars) that are planted around the Bormida River and harvested (I believe after about 10 years) to make paper. Another horizon line of mature pioppi with their green-yellow leaves are arrayed a little further back, before the view hazes off into the distant trees on the justifiably famous colline (hills).
The field in the foreground, plowed so clean, I'd find austerely beautiful in itself if it didn't remind me of a few particularly arduous days of labor: one interminable day we spent planting 200 young hazelnut trees, and two others on which we, blinded by sweat, buried legions of ocular potato bits beneath earth’s heavy lid in record April heat.
Yet even such trying days as those, as the poet Leopardi pointed out, ultimately become achingly sweet in retrospect, the vista soft and appealing as the photo above.