Posted by Gail Hecko – Gail’s Great Escapes
I’m becoming languid. When your apartment is 87 degrees at 2am (no A/C), and 94 by noon, you learn a new vocabulary. The dictionary defines languid as
1 : drooping or flagging from, or as if from, exhaustion : weak
2 : sluggish in character or disposition : listless
3 : lacking force or quickness of movement : slow…………….
It’s hot here. Most of the swallows have left for cooler climes and the mosquitoes are flourishing. The sky is a hazy blue and the puffy clouds are far away near the mountains. The sunflower heads are drooping. Oleanders are blazing bushes of fireworks. The buzzing of the flies competes with the hum of the cicadas. It’s truly summer in Italy.
I’m working very diligently to discover ways to embrace the heat of August in Tuscany. Okay, maybe not diligently. That sounds Fast. Fast here is closing the shutters for the day, scarfing down a liter of iced water, crossing to the shady side of the street, making up errands to run in your air-conditioned car.
We Americans are told over and over how spoiled and wasteful we are. It’s true. We pass effortlessly from the heat of true air to the cold of conditioned air. We take days (if not weeks) to adjust to Nature’s True Temperatures, as air-conditioning has upset the apple cart of our bodies’ natural thermostat. Our summer clothing may contain a bit of spandex or polyester, and this extra thread of synthetic makes our clothing hotter.
Languid. The coolest time of my day is stepping out of the shower with wet skin. Until I dry off. I do this twice a day and am thinking of adding a third. The heat makes you have irrational thoughts. Like, maybe I should cut off all my hair…..I have the right scissors. Make-up is way too hot…..who needs it anyway?? Do I REALLY need a bra? If I lie here long enough, will someone bring me my coffee? Please. Get a grip.
This is not a third-world country. People in Montisi, my little Tuscan village, have microwave ovens. Some have clothes dryers, wireless internet connections, and Sky TV. And a few have air-conditioning. But like the dryers, A/C is expensive, pollutes the air, seldom used, and what’s the point? ( Well, I could argue with myself over that).
Be still, don’t waste energy. Be quiet, don’t add heat to the air. Be active in the early morning and evening when it’s coolest. Rest during the hottest part of the day. Drink. Consider a breeze a blessing and pay attention to how it feels on your skin. Be grateful for trees, umbrellas, and thick stone walls.
It’s hot here, but I will adjust. I’m embracing my languidness. I know that cooler weather will come very soon. I will feel the conquering spirit of “living like a local”‘ appreciating every drop in celsius, every cooling rain shower, each slurpy cool bite of a ripe peach, each lazy afternoon nap that helps keep me awake for the glorious “coolness” of the night.
I think I will return in August 2010…..maybe.
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Gail Hecko, the owner of Gail’s Great Escapes, shares her passion for Italy and Southern Tuscany through week-long tours. She lives half the year now in the medieval village of Montisi where she is always on the look-out for interesting experiences for her guests. The concept of her tours is to be on-site to provide information about the area without having every day planned as a group outing.
On Monday of each week, there is a group winery and cheese-tasting tour with Pino, and one evening a visit to a local restaurant together. Other days, the guests decide what they want to do – their interest, their pace. No stress, no schedule but the one they make for themselves. Art lessons, cooking classes, ballooning, great food and wine, and new friends, culminate in an “Under The Tuscan Stars” party each week.
There is a peaceful simple spirit in Montisi. It’s magical.