I stopped by every evening, in the moonlight, to admire it.
The darker it became, the more night fell, the more its beauty captivated me. The fresh, wet grass, that was always cut, was typical of the summer.
The countryside, the olive trees, the citrus fruit all around. An intoxicating symphony of scents traced my path. I worked all day long, anxiously waiting to see it. I was dying to bring it the fruits of the earth that grew with love, the wine of the good vines, which stretched on gentle slopes, harmonious valleys and a feast of colours. With my eyes open, I would lose myself in fantasies in which I imagined capturing its heart, but aware that certain dreams were destined never to become reality.
In the evening, at sunset, on the return journey, I watched the horizon take on shades like a painting, as I went up the hill, climbing verdant paths among blossoming trees.
I felt privileged, because I could enjoy that sight, like a tourist tasting a new food, surrounded by the peace of the countryside that, step by step, replaced the bustle of the city. Immersed in the quiet, with only the echo of the cicadas and the glow of fireflies for company, as if to welcome the stars, the luminous guardians of the darkness. There lived nature, the jealous custodian of our time, a vain lady without a master who would change clothes every season, revealing her splendour.
The return always felt like a journey, a mixture of dreams and reality.
It was waiting for me, looking at me from afar. Majestically, as if to ask me if I really loved it. How many minds had craved it, trying to dig deep into its soul and spirituality.
I wondered about that, each time my eyes became inebriated by that beauty, without ever being able to fully enjoy it. As time passed, silence gave way to the wholesome noise of the kitchen.
The clinking of pots and glasses that mingled with the roar of hurried laughter, while the fresh products of nature gave shape to succulent and tasty dishes. Like being in front of a famous painting, the scent of food permeated me, giving me an unexpected sense of home and hospitality. We were not alone.
There were always tables set and traditional dishes prepared for people from all over the world. It was a place where horses, the tireless carriers of letter, could rest.
There were cows, producing milk and cheeses in the morning. It was where hens, rabbits and a donkey rested, before witnessing anecdotes on life and sighs of freedom in the evenings. That was how evenings were spent, amid laughter, fresh dishes and intrepid stories.
Within those intimate and welcoming walls made of tuff, hundreds of stories, travellers and sharecroppers mingled together, filling the rooms with thoughts and smiles. In the garden in summer, in front of the fireplace in winter, we lived in a continuous festive atmosphere, with Calabrian songs and melodies with which we liked to adorn the conversations on the progress of the harvest and the aging of the wine.
It was not like the others.
Despite its noble descent and an austere presence, it was sunny, hospitable and brimful of joy.
I liked looking at it at dawn, wishing the sharecroppers a good morning. I waited impatiently for the moment when the doors would open to reveal a glimpse of the white and graceful veils flitting here and there.
I still remember that window. I fooled myself into thinking its doors would open wide for me.
Then I lost hope, seeing the joy on the faces of the other sharecroppers, waiting for that good morning wish as if it were some sort of blessing. I was not the only one to feel such love.
I was not the only one with my soul in turmoil, waiting in vain for an embrace, looking for a sense of familiarity.
That place was a balm for my heart. A refuge for the soul, a few steps away from happiness.