Easter at the family cottage.
When I was a kid, every single summer and sometimes Pentecost, I would spend the full summer at our cottage in Italy. As little made it through 6 full weeks of sunshine and lake water, my travel companions were constantly changing. My dad would come by for a few days and then head back to Munich, my grandma would bring my best friend down to Italy, my brother would follow his pal and his almost adoptive second family to france and my aunt was dropping by with an array of different boy friends to cook pasta the way she had learnt to while living in Naples.
The only other constant of the summer was my mum. Her hair tied into an ever blonder pony tail, with those big white 80s sunglasses and her large cuddly map beach towel. She drop her watch the moment she entered the cottage and told time by the ferries passing by down on the lake.
At the end of summer, before my aunt and grandma were headed back north we’d go to the market in Toscolano and buy knobbly chanterelles. Leftover breakfast buns the had accumulated over the weeks were shredded up, mixed with milk, egg, parsley and nutmeg and rolled into Semmelknödel dumplings served with a creamy chanterelle sauce. To me this dish still rings in the fall. The sky would become clearer and the mountains on the other side of the lake inch a little closer. The waves in the mornings would come crashing onto the pebble beaches with growing thunder and tourists were flocking back to where they had come from while we watched swallows get ready for their journey.
After sheer endless childhood summers I now only get to go occasionally and haven’t stayed for more than a week in years. Yet as soon as we turn the last corner, the gate comes into view, we wind down the tiny street to the house, see the olive and plan trees nodding in the breeze and finally step onto the majestic terrace – I’m home. Calm. Excited. Happy beyond explanation. Contend. Full of life and love.
Do you have a place like that? A place that will always cause that special fuzziness inside you? That will welcome you even if you neglected it for ages? That will send even the tiniest memories soaring through your mind, belly, tingle your finger tips and leave you with a smile on your lips?