'Fluffy clouds, shapes in motion' was the first thought Damiano had as he opened the windows of his room. The morning light was filtering through the green shades, too strong to deny its evidence . Far into the distance, as if positioned by some Reinassance painter, to show perspective, perfectly cotton-white clouds were aligned and dangling from a perfect blue sky. Damiano, for a second, tried to find the hooks where they have been suspended. Huge blue and white waves were rocking boats and bodies of undelicate and risk-taking swimmers into the sandy beach. He loved those days where the sound of the sea against the rocks and its satin roar was mingling with the voices of hundred people screaming with joy or simply voicing over names of kids, husbands, friends, momentarily lost at sea. Wave after wave, like a natural clock, Damiano joined the frenzy, with a wooden board. It could have been California or some remote Australian island. It was Tuscany and it was his stormy life. He continued playing with the waves, till his body was vasted, bruised by the ocean's energy. As if each jump into the cold water was dragging resources and willingness from his bones. The clouds were morphing in front of his eyes, into monsters, college teachers and musical instruments. Hearts, shapes
The waves were foaming with iconoclastic rage, and the sky becoming a panel of surreal actors. And a father screaming random names from the shore. As if, in these days, reality was in need to be renamed, as the winds and the sea streams were taking over the land. The mighty night came slowly, allowing pink, green and orange rays to slide from the sun into the white-washed houses and the tanned faces of long-term holiday makers. Damiano had dinner with his family, swaffling through tomatoes and the standard watermelon, still counting aches and little pains, mixed with the joy of being alive, after a day at sea. When he saw Maria on their bench overlooking the harbour, he sat with a smirk on his face. 'There are days that deserve to be named', he started abruptly, as they barely exchanged a hello. She had his same smile, and the red face of excitement for the day of waves, wind and sun.
'It is the feeling you have for surviving the storm at sea or when something important and final happens. These days when your life turns around an imaginary beacon, one of those with a light on top. It happens regularly, as if reality has some quantic nature embedded on itself. We proceed, step after step. I have a very little story tonight for you, but it speaks miles about it. My grandfather was an architect and he had to design and build new roads on the countryside, after the War. He was travelling on horseback or riding a donkey, through deserts, lagoons and deep and intricated forests. Italy was a country where, for years, the land, preyed by its best youth, hadn't been cultivated and farmed and where the pervasive nature of ivy and any other rampicant plants had it on the precise order of country roads and little walls and canals. He was travelling the land and reinventing its connections with the outer world at his own desire and perception. He had an obsession with altitudinal range. He believed that, if nature created a slope or a cliff, it couldn't be ignored, but seconded by the engineering technology. These were the years of cement, where Italians were building in seven years a new highway between Milan and Naples. Under budget and inside the expected times. Somewhere else, this man, with his straw hat and a linen suit, was travelling the country, allowing tracks and paths to turn into modern roads. Inside the boundaries the nature had created and following altitude. When required, the road would jump abruptly or, as in one of the roads he rebuilt not far from here, he would have followed pedantically the lines of the land, caressing mountains and hills. But, he always told us, as smooth as you can be, there are always those moments when the road has to take a step towards the bottom of the valley or, like when you hike on the top of mountains, it needs to take it up to the next step, the coming challenge. You know that you will be higher, close to destination and the price to pay is either the vertigo of descending or the strain of your muscles as you walk up, as you stretch your legs. These are the days you want to name, that you want to recognise as yours. These are those days when you survive, days to keep your silence and suddenly say something that is changing once again the world around you. Or your feelings about it.'
He looked at her. She was sitting with her eyes glazed and focused on an imaginary point into the horizon. 'Fluffy clouds, I have never seen them at night. Steps, altitudinal range and clouds, life in motion. I will call this day Vega, as the shinest star'. She elonged her arms towards the sky and then prolonged that moment of silence, allowing the story to settle on her. It was her turn now. But sometimes silence is the best noise.
Years of Rice and Salt - Nothing of Cities