As I sit here at the kitchen table, I hear the shepherd just up the hill start his noisy, delapidated truck. It seems quieter this time. Maybe he was able to have more work done on it since our last visit. Or perhaps our closed windows mute the rattle.
A welcome sound, because the little mountain village sinks deep into silence as cold weather arrives. Tourists and visitors gone. Villagers huddled before their fires, only venturing out to buy their few grocery items, or pay bills at the post office.
Neighbors are gathering in their winter wood supply. So there is that clatter as they toss wood down the steps of the ancient cobbledstoned street. Or we hear the clatter of their pull cart as it goes up and down.
But not at this hour. Now they huddle before crackling fires, sipping their morning espresso. Or scurry their kids around to catch the school bus going to the nearby larger village.
Yes, mornings here in our mountain village are quiet. A deep, penetrating silence. A quiet that can, I suppose, feel heavy and oppressive to some. Especially the residents who endure so much of it. For it likely signals another season of solitude and isolation. And already they anxiously await the return of spring and new arrivals.
But we of the city find it welcoming. Embracing it, for the most part, without difficulty. Of the city. A term I use loosely, because it seems to me, that to our villagers, our home town of 3000 would seem like a city. I guess most things would, compared to their population of 400.
There’s a new family in town, Afghan refugees. A couple with 2 kids. Hubby helped them buy clothing when he went out for our food. He said they seemed nice, but only spoke Farsi and English. I hope for their sakes they learn Italian quickly. Those languages won’t go far here.
So there is some movement, but for the most part, we encounter mostly still silence. A silence which to us brings peace, rest, and restoration.
Tomorrow is Sunday, and we’ll be off to the tiny Evangelical church in the morning. It was the 1st one in the entire provice of Salerno and been here 100 years. Perhaps we’ll stop for breakfast at the one and only bar, where we’ll surely and gladly encounter a few of the villagers. It will be good to see our brethren too.
Life in this isolated place reinforces important lessons each time we come. Teaching us how little we really need to live. Reminding us to count our blessings. And prodding us to see the importance of taking time to stop, reflect, and be still before God. In many ways, it often seems like a crash course in Basic Living 101.
Life, when reduced to the essentials, can really be quite simple and uncomplicated. And I’m glad there are still places in this world that help us remember that.
But for now, I see my time is up. And that actually I went over my five mintures. For some reason, the timer didn’t work this time.
[*A bar in Italy is rather a mix between café and pub.]
Five Minute Friday is a blog link-up with a one word, weekly prompt. It’s “meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.” Then link your published post to the link-up, following their instructions.
Image credits: Chimney smoke; Village is mine.