May 21st, 2007


I detect some improvement in my physical state this morning, but I don’t trust it. I will stay here the rest of the day, I will not risk going down the mountain and back up again with a heavy grocery sack.

Now, a few days ago while I was in bed writhing in agony, fearing I was about to become permanently disabled and a despised ward of the Italian socialist state, I heard construction noises from the courtyard. Every now and again I took a peek through the curtains of my front door window, and watched my landlord, his brother, and two other young men hard at work sawing logs and cutting fronds from the big palm tree at the corner of the terrace. Two days later, temporarily back on my feet, I inspected their work.

They had, to my surprise and gratitude, formally carved out between the grape vines a little Astroturf-covered spot for my deck chair, on which during the summer months I love to lie and take the healing rays of the bright Mediterranean sun.

Things are looking up.

All You Notice

If you slowly turn around 360 degrees on this mountainside you’ll see a vast panorama. There’s the sea, there’s the bright sun. There’s the village of Forio far below, with its white stucco facades and terra cotta roof tiles glowing in the sun. Above there’s the green slope of Mt. Epomeo with its royal crown of white cumulus.

But then look. Over there tied to the fence, occupying a narrow, one-degree sliver of the panorama, is something that represents the opposite of life, beauty, and vitality.

When you're depressed all you notice are negative symbols and metaphors. You really have to work hard to blot out every other beautiful thing.