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An Italian morning



Day 10924

8 o’clock


La dolce vita.


At 6.30am local time I was walking across the grass to slip through the narrow metal gate inconspicuous behind a little pile of dried grass cuttings, and make my way across a narrow path of crunching twigs and leaves to the turquoise waters beyond. The sun had risen above the hill tops only moments before and showed itself as a perfectly round, deep pink ball spreading a golden haze of light horizontally across the pale blue sky of dawn.


A little earlier at around 6.10am I had tried to capture the frailty of the morning mist as it shimmered over the distant view of Orvieto. Our bathroom has the best view in the house; from here you can see the hilltop town reaching up before the green and sloping vallies all around and, at its furthest point, the great breadth of the duomo.


The picture was unable to capture what the eye could see, the sky appeared dull and the view seemed far away. It did not show the soft ache of colour, a premonition of what the true sunrise would bring in a brazen stab of bright. This was a subtle wash of copper and coral warming the dusty, rusty reds of the ancient buildings upon their harmonising cliffs. The lights on the roads that snaked up the hillside looked like strung up beads of gold strewn about the city’s base.


Sunrise, the eternally optimistic sister of mournful Sunset who always and inexorably signifies the end. Sunrise holds all the promise of a new beginning in her hands. I could feel that quiet optimism today in the cool, soft touch of the water on my skin.


The best view of the duomo itself is when your head is just above the surface and you are halfway across a length, at that moment you are at just the right height so that it looks as though it is sitting upon the horizon perfectly framed by the olive trees stretching out on either side. After a while the sun is high enough to shine through the trees and small patches of light begin to appear upon the side of the pool. The wavering lines that are reflected there look like sound waves, the ones lower down mirror with a moments delay the shallow curving of the water’s edge whilst the ones higher up dance and fizz, sparking in erratic spikes so that if you played the waves aloud it would create a wild and frantic sound quite at odds with the gentle slosh of the shallow troughs that my body creates as I carve my way slowly along the pool. The water is warm but I feel cold if I stop for long, arms resting on the stone edge, eyes blinking away from the now egg-yolk yellow sun and resting peaceably on the morning dew. The lush grass and clover mix is not just layden but saturated, perfectly spherical encapsulations clinging to every stalk.


A still quiet in a little corner of the world before it has stretched and woken up.