I roll up the window shutter when it is still dark; the January chill creeps through small spaces in the large, white framed window. A hyacinth, resting on the black table, is in bloom; its smell strong and sweet. Like other spring flowers, it calls out in a musical whisper to be noticed. Light pink flowers, partially opened, from its five, tall thick stocks, all bound by a blue ribbon I tied them with so their stems could cluster for strength. A sixth, small stock nestles, tucked between the durable others.
As the sun rises, construction workers begin their work on a new apartment complex. As I am on the second floor, the new building has stolen the morning sunshine that once brightened my spot at the table. On the other side of my apartment, buildings shade the evening light. It stays dim inside all day.
The drilling, hammering and occasional loud clunks crash into the room’s silence. I watch workers walking along the scaffolding shell and kneeling in bare concrete rooms drilling. They work like ants.
The sun rises, again unencumbered by clouds. Every day, for as long as I can remember, for months, it has been clear. Only one day lapsed into the gentleness of rain, Thursday last, the day my friend left Milan. It’s hard for me to believe only four days have passed since then. Already it feels an eternity of loneliness.
I could be anywhere in the world with a hyacinth on a table in January and construction outside my window.
When I go out wandering, examples of human capacity surround me, architectural examples, churches the most obvious. A strange comment about humankind that it creates such masterworks in respond to ideas of God. There is a contemporary building I like, the Bosca Verticale, a high-rise residential building in Porto Nuovo, with large balconies dripping with over 4,000 plants and trees. The plants help clean pollution from the Milanese air.
My hyacinth cleans my air. As she realizes the day has arrived, her fragrance increases. I can almost see the movement in her flowers, the stretching and awakening of her stocks. If I pause to watch, even for ten minutes, I see the sixth small stock reach upward to the light. This is my vertical garden, masterpiece, spot of wonder among the hubbub of development outside.
How different would life have been, I wonder, if I were born someplace in Europe.
Alone I walk a formal garden, the conversation not gone, but moved inside my head, behind the Villa Reale, now home to public art.
Ducks and strangely yellow swans rest, plucking at their feathers, on wet, brown earth near the small lake. The sound of a contrived waterfall clapping softly.
On the palace lawn, a boy kicks an orange and white soccer ball with his father, stylishly Milanese with cobalt cashmere sweater and plaid scarf tightly wrapping his long narrow neck. A couple with two young children, noticeably English, stroll by.
So much depends on the placement of the chicken and red wheelbarrow.
Not really a Biography
I have always been inclined to move forward, roll the stone, down, and often up, hills. I've tried to write through it all. Everything on this blog is written by me.