Culture /

Primavera: A New Beginning with Spring

Cicadas (reprise)

Serpentine roads leading over the hills. I’d play a game with my brother, one of those back-in-the-car games from back-in-the-day: whoever first spotted the sea, would win. The only prize was an utter sense of excitement, the feeling you would get even if you were the second (or third, or fourth) person to take note of the azure waters down in the valley. The thrill was one re-lived with each turn the car would take, sea and mountains playing hide-and-seek, every glimpse bringing us closer to summer. The landscape changed as we drove through the centre of town, passing by a pink-and-terracotta house. The windows of the car were rolled down, the warm breeze welcoming, spring turning to summer. “I wish I’ll live here one day,” I’d thought to myself.

A woman named Dolores greeted us. She wore a tiny pair of golden scissors on a delicate chain around her neck; I looked at them, mesmerised and intrigued by the fragility of this otherwise sturdy piece of equipment. I often wonder if she still wears them.

Nighttime, cicadas chirping. I’d stare through the white wooden shutters separating the bedroom with the Miro poster on the wall, from the courtyard. A warm breeze rustling through the pine trees just outside would fill the room with a resin-like scent. Wind chimes clanging softly, waves rolling up against the rocks where wild fennel would grow.

Seasons shifted. Whereas summer’s end is bittersweet, spring’s arrival is tinged with excitement. The jolts of energy I feel each time the sun peaks through are not dissimilar to those glimpses of the sea, getting closer to a life that is simple and sweet. I truly am a child of summer, after all.

Florence, springtime. The first day of the season makes me think of all that could be rather than all that is (not). I am woken up by the sun, its rays tinging the icy blue skies a warm golden hue. The light shifts to various shades of saffron, reflected off of the yellow buildings characteristic of this renaissance city. While I sip my Moka coffee, I look out over the terracotta rooftops crowding San Frediano. I open the kitchen window, the smell of spring blending with the mint and artichokes I bought at the market. Somehow the combination reminds me of the wild fennel in that small town on the coast.

Behind the Boboli gardens and past Palazzo Pitti, a small street leads up the hills of Florence. Its twists and turns meander like those in my memory — around each curve, for a split-second I think I’ll spot the sea; olive groves take its place. I make a mental note to myself: how great would it be to sneak in, bring a book, a picnic, a bottle of wine; in no particular order. I imagine how it’d be in summer, a balmy evening. After snapping a photo, I continue my walk. Primavera — spring: a prelude to summer (and the memories it recalls).