(excerpted from my voluminuous diary of a trip to Tuscany 12-26 September 1994)

VolPaia


Vol Paia, Saturday, 24 September 1994 6:30am
I am watching the sun rise listening to the crickets and birds and hearing the periodic explosions in the vineyards - bird scares. I can hear dogs barking in the distance and the roar of cars on the highway far away. But it's the crickets and birds that are prevalent. The birds sound somewhat tropical and not like any birds I know. I wonder if the dogs I'm hearing are hunting. It almost sounds like it, even though we see hundreds of DEVIETO DI CACCIA (no hunting) signs.

I'm looking down into the vegetable garden below and see bats flying round and round over the ripe tomato patch. There are bats everywhere!! Without looking carefully, I see at least fifty flying - no! careening, high up. It's a little nerve-wracking sitting in the open window. I hate the idea of a bat flying by too closely. One just flew by the window. If I had reached out I could have touched it. Most of them though are quite far away and probably headed for wherever it is they sleep. It's getting quite bright out now.

The air is soft and warm/cool. It's going to be another sunny day. The sky is getting quite blue and I only see five or six bats. The hills in the distance are covered in mist. I can just make out that they're green. There's a silver olive grove closer by that almost looks frost covered because of the light.

Maybe this warm day will dry out the grapes and the vintage won't be so bad. The sun is barely visible behind the hills; I can only see one bat.

And now the sky is suddenly filled with swallows. And they're already flown off as I wrote that sentence. And they're back again. As the light brightens I can see smoke rising from the hills and can now make out the brilliant magenta of some flowers at a farmhouse down the road.

And finally the sun is up from behind the hills and all the different colours of green on the slopes are coming clear even though the mist is still there.



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