Diary Entry

Paradise almost lost….

In a few days we will be leaving our beautiful temporary home, where even on stormy days the seascape that surrounds us is sublime.

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Now, after what seemed like endless cold and rainy weather, the sun is out, and everything is in bloom. The beauty of the landscape is almost unbelievable, especially the view from our bedroom window where the horizon of Golfo Paradiso is framed and crisscrossed by the bending boughs of parasol pines.

It will, I fear, be excruciating to return to New York, where the usual noise and grime will be accentuated by the scaffolding that was wrapping our building when we left a few weeks ago. Sigh.

Meanwhile, I’ve been collecting last signs by which to remember our time here:

Another love-inspired example of graffiti, this time in English, carved on a thick cactus leaf on the path we took between two of the villages of the Cinque Terre, Monterosso and Vernazza. So we say that we have seen the “due terre” and from a staggering height. I thought the walk would never end, as I clung on to whatever vines, fences, rocks, and the occasional bannister available. We were by far the oldest people taking the path, and that fact was not comforting; nor were the signs warning us of falling rocks.

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“Nel blu dipinto di blu”: irresistible reprise from ‘Volare’ (only people over a certain age will recognize the music and the words from the late 1950s)

It’s all about blue.

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I realized on one  excursion that a favorite scarf matched the sea, as well as the color of the railings and the benches It’s also the color of my new website―so many variants of teal.

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Even a blue kayak:

The town itself –walls, shutters, roofs–is color coordinated in warm earth tones, but the rules of décor do not seem to apply to laundry:

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Was everything perfect then? Nostalgia will make it so.

But that would be too simple. In addition to the proliferation of dog poop (see earlier posts), there are cigarette butts everywhere, as well as discarded cigarette packs:


The warning label reads on one side: Smoking gravely damages you and those around you, and on the other: Smoking causes deadly lung cancer.

The messages, alas, seem to have no effect. People smoke everywhere outside where smoking is permitted. The fact that the packs contain 10 cigarettes makes them especially appealing to the young: notably the pre-teenagers…who think, as we did when young, that smoking is cool.

The government has not succeeded in banning the tempting packs.

(Too bad the packs come in a lovely a shade of blue…)

It would be churlish, however, to end on a…blue note.
A few days ago, on a trip to a Genoa marketplace (we bought pesto and porcini), we saw this

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strange sight: a levitating monk.

Any ideas of how it’s done?

Nancy K. Miller. Diary

Welcome. Some musings on my current preoccupations with the worlds of illness and the worlds of books, the vicissitudes of living with cancer and the need now, in my eighties, to imagine what new writing might be. 

View Diary posts related to the My Multifocal Life project.