General Fiction posted August 4, 2018

This work has reached the exceptional level
Memories are what keeps me hoping.

Home Is Where The Heart Is.

by tempeste

I come from a tiny village perched on the slopes of the Mottarone at 700 metres. At the foot of this mount is a lake with three islands owned by the noble Borromean family and in the distance one can see the beautiful Alps covered with snow good part of the year.

Normally, we are about 500 souls but in the Summer the streets come alive with the arrival of the rich from Milano who come to enjoy their holiday homes surrounded by huge blooming gardens ; they are anxious to leave the pollution and the hassle of city life for the fresh air , the crystal water and the sense of peace the mountain offers.

A couple of months earlier,in Spring, the swallows return to mate. They winter in the warmer weather of Southern Africa , near the Sahara. It's considered a blessing and a sign of good fortune if they choose to set up family under your balcony.
Their tuneful cries break the morning silence while the smell of fresh bread makes its way through the narrow cobbled streets of the old part of town where I live.

The houses, with characteristic arches, are made of stone with balconies decorated with wooden flower boxes filled with bright red geraniums. Many dividing walls are adorned with lush oily green ivy and blue, purple and white hydrangeas are very popular.

The local church stands high, where it keeps a watchful eye over the village and its massive bell rings solemnly every half hour . At night hearing its voice echo comforts me like the warm embrace of a dear friend.

My favourite month is Autumn when the leaves turn bright orange and yellow and a stunning burgundy, my all time favourite .
This is the time of walnuts and roasted chestnuts.
The time for silent walks in the pine woods , where the smell of the earth is overwhelming in search of those long desired porcini (mushrooms for risotto).
Here , in this place of reflection one comes to understand the intrinsic connection mankind has with Mother Nature. And on a lighter note ,it's also the right place to collect pinecones ,big and tiny which ,sprayed gold and silver, become jewelled ornaments to scatter over our marble mantel piece or to hang on the Christmas tree.

Winters are not easy but Christmas without snow would be like New Year's Eve without fireworks . We all keep our fingers crossed that it comes in time to delight young and old alike.
The fireplace burns most of the day and I love watching the flames crackle and dance in the dark.
And there is nothing more exciting than waking up in the morning and discovering that snow came silently like a thief at the night and covered everything under an immaculate white blanket. It's a breathtaking moment, which resembles much a fairytale scene.

Mid January to the end of February are the coldest weeks and walking the dogs is quite a feat . Scoobydubba , the smallest of my pets ,who was left by some unknown soul in a box at our front door step , looked always so smart , all black wearing her bright red rain coat :.".my beautiful Ferrari " I would call her.

I'm proud to say that my village is the home of the only existing museum in the world dedicated to the para-soleil and umbrella (and beautiful carved handles made of ivory and mother pearl ). It is from my region around the lake that craftsmen, known as "lusciat, with a young apprentice at tow, would travel all over Italy and aboard (1800) repairing and making their precious objects for the elite class .Years of sacrifice, living most of the time far from their loved ones , until they finally earned enough money to afford a permanent place at the market back home. By that time the young apprentice would have learnt the secrets of the trade and the story would once again repeat itself : the craftsman and a young apprentice at tow.

My village has yet another merit. The first ever National "Opening "(golf) in Italy was played on a green commissioned in 1925, just on the outskirts of my small town. The golf course still has only nine holes, as projects to add 9 more have never passed the preliminary stage mainly due to logistic issues. Nevertheless, many national and international tournaments have been disputed since then.
I spent many happy years earning good pocket money as a caddy. I always found it amusing the absurd weather conditions in which players were forced to play in; I do recall some really hilarious and eye rolling situation that occurred when hail, fog or stormy weather came into the mix.

So this was the story of my (simple) life until three years ago when, for family reasons and a sense of duty, heavy hearted I left my mountain. I now live a miserable life without meaning, without colour, in a place where people are constantly thinking about money, cluttering their homes with the latest electric devices and buying things they can't afford.

I'm not sure when I will be able to go back but should I die suddenly, I have left written that my ashes be returned and released on my beloved mountain top (1,200m) ; at least my eternal rest will be a peaceful one.

My Home Town contest entry
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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