Sunday, March 18, 2018

The call to solitude...



The more I learn about rural Romania, the more I want to go hide there. Rural Italy is pretty great, and Umbria has a piece of my heart, but the part I live in is pretty modern and central. Down here on the lowlands. I keep longing to go back up to Norcia where - even more now - there are really just not very many people, and we were surrounded by the Big Empty. Where wild boar would come close to the house at night, and if you got up early enough you'd sometimes see wolves in your garden. (At least, so I was told my my friend the vet, whose house was close to the base of the mountain.) One of the most painful parts of Norcia was the annual summer tourist invasion. It was just way too popular.

Being from coastal British Columbia, and from a time before it got completely overrun, I find it hard to bear living cheek-by-jowl with so many strangers. It just feels strangely invasive to know what people - people I don't know - are doing every day.

The lower Tiber Valley is very heavily populated for a rural area, this big horseshoe of towns and villages and hamlets and farms, Perugia, Assisi, Bastia Umbra, Foligno, Spoleto... all practically within walking distance. I know for people who only think of Italy as a tourist place that sounds like a dream come true; but how I miss those early Norcia mornings in the winter, the only sound was the birds and the bells of the Basilica ringing for Prime, the mist rising slowly up the sides of the mountains...

I don't know where this thing in my character comes from, this urge to be away from everyone else. But it gets stronger by the year. My 52nd birthday was last week, and though I'm liking my little place here more and more, the urge to be away from everyone else keeps whispering under it all. I guess it's how I ended up here, so far away from where I started. The Island is unrecognisable now, my interior mental landscape of long stretches of the Island Highway with nothing but trees has been completely lost. That highway is one long strip mall now, lined with seedy car and hot tub dealerships; the remote, wild place where my grandparents build their little house on the cliff in the 60s now a tame and paved suburb of Nanaimo.

The more I learn about Romania, the more that instinct starts its little quiet bell ringing.

... Or maybe the Faroe Islands...





~

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is a monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Stanceni, in the Carpathian Mountains. Perhaps you could visit them...

Lydia

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot to mention: they're of Byzantine rite.

Lydia

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Well, a little internet research has shown the nuns in Stanceni are devoted VaticanTwoist ecumenists. So, no.

Anonymous said...

If you want to be Lutheran then the Faroe Islands would be great. No Mass of any form there.

-Caterina

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