Every morning, I take The Dogs out for their Morning Constitutional. 50 minutes of watching those spoiled Weimaraners sniff disgusting things with occasional donations of their inimitable bio-waste, both liquid and hard. Mostly liquid. Yes, what fun. Our normal percorso is to cross the Medieval bridge, make a left and descend the asphalted ramp to the narrow lane which connects the Medieval bridge to the one built in the late 70s.
Just getting to the other side of the bridge saps My Patience. Moses likes to hang back, meticulously sniffing every single blade of grass, weed, moss sprouting from the cracks in between the Medieval stones of the gently arched old bridge. Nearly a quarter of an hour is dedicated to this phase of our journey. Meanwhile, Nina has already canvassed the entire community of Codiponte, bolting from one corner to another, probably done, in the hope of catching a cat… a gecko… a butterfly. Any moving creature will do. Her forte in these pell mell peregrinations is to return and present me with some found and quite dead animal, thankfully deceased with no help from her. When she is not looking, I gingerly toss the dead thing to a watery end in the river below. We re-group at the ramp to continue on towards the core of our morning’s viaggio.
Mr Amble-along drifts towards the large fig bush which divides the lane after the ramp levels off to leave some donation there. Then, he goes back to sniffing. At this fork, the low road leads to a sandbar and this year’s Codiponte Beach. A local builder brought his ruspa and made an impromptu dam for the kids to have a swimming pool of sorts on our hot afternoons. The high one aims for the new bridge and bisects the fluvial plain, so to speak, which is divied-up into a series of fruit and vegetable gardens. All these agricultural implants belong to the residents of the Commie House above the SR 445 and the S****Y Bar. Sorry for the ***s. Neighborhood UFOs read this blog!!! The Commie House, as many of you might recall, appears unwanted… totally unwanted… in countless photographs taken for this blog. Yes, it is more than just an ugly eye-soar. It’s a cultural-political crime. The denizens of this grotesque edifice are also owners of stunningly old and lovely stone houses in the main village grouped around the confines of the piazzetta of the village. If they only knew what they have abandoned. But then, on a larger scale, that’s Italy for ya’.
Slowly yet surely, we three trudge our way down the little lane meeting most everybody tending to their gardens in the relatively cool though often muggy AM hours. While the canine cavort over the fauna, I stop to converse with the locals. The all have one message… their fruit and vegetable gardens are a disaster!!! The previous message, say around the middle of May, was how late they were in planting them for the summer growing season. Nearly a month late. Too much rain, hale and cold. The next complaint was… what happened to summer? And with this, lies the true disaster.
For instance, tomatoes are a delicate yet vital fruit. The plants need water but not as rain. You water the canals dug between the rows of plants and let the summer heat force them to erupt with bountiful clusters of red ripe tomatoes. This year’s climate has not been particularly co-operative. Nope, none at all. We’ve had bouts of rain, hard downpours followed by cloudy days of heavy humidity. Nothing can dry out. Then, these are spliced with short shots of intense, searing heat. The only thing a tomato can figure out to do with such a climatic rhythm is to either explode into a yellowy mess or, implode into a cruel fungal death. The Codipontesi are desperate. The same scenario would apply to the other garden edibles though the tomato crop or, the lack of one, has created much local unhappiness.
Last year’s fungal attack… which many believe emanates from the preponderant use of plastics insidiously polluting the air we live & breath… killed the vendemia. Most just dumped the wine from their grapes into the river. This year, it will be the grapes and tomatoes. The river won’t be the same. Gads.