Through Corn, Wheat and Grapes
We went out the gate in the yard wall at 6:30 p.m. Past the end of the building and to the right up the hill on the alley behind the bath and bed, then a hard left onto the street above the third floor and we were off. As we walked up there, Lydia came to the upper window and bade us all "Adieu."
The yard gates all opened onto the street from the right side. Across on the left, cars and trucks were parked for the night along the whole way down to the end of the street. It was evening and every dog was in the yard behind their gates to howl us on our way. At the bottom of the street we passed out of the Village.
We walked on the paved road for about a quarter of a mile, then turned right for probably two, maybe three city blocks. As we turned left onto a two track gravel with grass in the middle, we met an old man driving very slowly toward us. Carys and Gaia on their bikes hugged the ditch and stopped as Gabriel and I stood very still. He crept on passed and we didn't meet anyone else for a long time.
It was a wonderfully nice evening. Almost no traffic sounds, we were shielded from the highway noises by the hills. There were virtually no farm steads along our path, we saw a few in the distance.
The two tracker had started to rise in its elivation and continued to reach up for a long time. We were passing one of those fenced in Italian gardens where they grow produce for the markets. The gate was open and I was interestedly looking to the right. On the left were the rows and rows of gorgeous grape vines full of rapidly ripening, nine or ten inch, clusters of grapes, when a car pulled up behind us and turned into a narrow parking space. He waited and watched for us to move on out of his way. The girls were struggling a bit with their bicks in the gravels, so had got off to walk and push for a while. Gabriel was taking pictures of the beautiful grapes in their vineyard.
The driver behind us had probably come back to his garden to check on something or lock up for the night, since the gate was still open. My little over active brain went into mystery mode and I just knew he thought since I had the largest backpack and Gabriel was photographing and the Girls had baskets on their handle bars, that we were there to rip off several pounds of his precious wares.
But we all kept heaving up the long gravely hill and thoughts of the kindly man in his parked car soon faded from my mind. Shortly I noticed in the paths of the hill quit a stretch, three or four yards, of small broken pieces of white marble stone. Now my brain moved over into a different stream of thought. Wouldn't be interesting to pick up all that marble and see what I could make of it, if I brought it home next week on the plane? Then reality gave my brain a yank and I walked on just stepping on small chunks of marble.
At the top of a hill where we could look over and see the highway in the valley below, there was a space between a field of corn and one of hay. Gabriel put down a rug and handed out some plumbs and apples. We had a bit of a respite with gulps of good cool water. Since I'm usually the one behind, I started on and after a while, they followed.
At that point the road bent and I followed the bend. After several rods it bent again. There in front of me, above the bend, was a brick built schrine. I knew it was old, but couldn't tell who or what it represented. Through the trees, there was some kind of farm yard or dwelling. I left it to move on and soon came to a patch of blackberries. Looking back, I couldn't see Gabriel and the Girls yet. So I thought to wait and eat a bit. O, my goodness! The berries were abundant. They didn't have as much juicyness as I would have liked, but they were fine enough. I ate two large hands full. There were plenty, but my back up had arrived and they were eager to press on.
We soon reached the apex of our journey, and now it was down a tractor road that hadn't been traveled for many weeks and one track was washed deep from recent rains. There were prickly vines in the way. This was another one of those two or three block paths, full of slow going. But the joy was, that at the bottom a better gravel road was waiting, than we had crossed since we met the first and only creeping car.
Now after all those two track farm paths, it felt like we had hit the high road. In a little while we saw the moon rising from behind the distant horizon. We couldn't see the sun, because of the high hill right beside us, but it was still sending out its light.
Then over the top of that hill, we met a woman runner coming up, and past us. We kept stepping down. The Girls were doing great and we could see the distant lights of the village beginning to shine. Suddenly we were on pavement and in the outer streets of town.
Gabriel and Lydia made phone contact about 8:40 p.m. and agreed we would meet her at the gelato shop at 9:00 p.m. By the time we reached that paved road the sun light was going out and we were glad to be within the confines of a known way. Our walking didn't speed up very much, but we did keep walking and now were passing buildings we knew and had passed before. Finally we were at the door of the ice cream shop and it was 9 o'clock. Lydia came soon and we all sat on the bench outside and licked away at our reward.
By Gabriel's calculations and the map, we walked five kilometers. I think that would be about 3 miles. It's not such a long walk. It begins to be a bit more when there are a lot of ups and downs.
As delicious at Italian ice cream is, the walk was its own reward. And I am so grateful for the ability and opportunity to walk. I remember a few years ago when I had to learn to walk again.