I love the way we can bring the past alive in our present ... recalling the people we loved and lived with, the way that they made us feel. I find everyone is still there, as solid memories, if I manage to call them up.
7am here in Italy, a cup of coffee from my small traveling espresso coffee-pot and a packet of shortbread-like biscuits nearby ...voila, memories of Nana and pre-breakfast coffees back home at her place, in Invercargill, New Zealand, chatting as she sped through her daily Southland Times, reading the news.
Imagine if her and I could have reminisced about the future ... ‘Hey Nana, in 2010, I’m going to be sitting at Paola’s kitchen table, in a small and ancient city in Italy, window open so I can hear the sounds of Genova waking up, drinking coffee, just like you and I are now.’
Nana, who never left New Zealand in all of her life but I wonder if she dreamed of it. We never talked of those things.
Or a conversation with Mum ... ‘So I moved to Istanbul in 2003. You would have loved it. The people are so friendly, the summers are warmer than here in Mosgiel, the life ... you would have loved the life of that ancient city.
Then Belgium in 2005’. She would have flown over to make me a balcony garden in Antwerp, and spent evenings out there, ignoring the mosquitoes, drinking a white wine and watching the sun slip below the horizon.
And Genova, I’m almost sure she would never have ever left Genova after arriving. We would have laughed about me being my mother’s daughter perhaps, with a need for the sea and serious hills, and maybe we could have planned to open some kind of B&B here, satisfying our oddly hospitable souls and the pleasure we find in knowing people.
And my lovely little sister ... the one who has always been older and wiser than me, even if she was born after me. We used to talk across the single-bed space back in those days when we shared a bedroom and if we had reminisced about my future life, I do believe we might have imagined we were inventing fairy stories ... where Istanbul, Antwerp and Genova were flights of fanciful imaginations ...
She should come here now.
Hhere I am, in the now, in Italy... loving the life I find in Genova.
Did you know, that swallows fly up and down Via Lorenzo in the evenings, before dark, screeching like hysterically happy young girls playing chase at an out-of-control birthday party. They amuse me, those swallows - even as I realise that I can't begin to caputre their antics with my camera.
And did you know that if you take nuts to the park in Nervi, and you throw a few then make yourself comfortable on the grass, the squirrel will be become bolder and bolder ... until you run out of nuts. Then you and he are over as photographer and model.
And did you know that this woman, a few thousand miles from home, from her past lives, and the people she loved first, finds the Ligurian coast an exquisitely beautiful place to remember and miss them?
Church bells ring in through the open kitchen window ... 8am.
Time to begin the new day but Sandra, come over one day soon.
Ciao from Genova, both feet in the present, as I think what to do with this day.