They told me, when I first arrived here, that the end of October marks the close of the tourist season. Mountain huts bar their doors, open-air festivals end, low altitude gondolas and mountain railways stop running, and a good number of the grottos (the Ticenese style restaurants) that dot the hillsides and service the walking routes, close for the season. I understood why this might be so. After all, people venture out to enjoy the outdoors, and November is the wettest month of the year.
November is the month when I would join others and take shelter, they said. It would be time when I would cosy myself up alongside the radiant heat and snuggle under blankets to watch movies and read books. When I chose to venture out, they insisted, it would be to sit on a patio under a gas heater, clothed in a warm jacket and hat, and sipping a coffee or red wine. They told me a lot about November, but they didn’t tell me about the mists and the shifting leaden shades of sky. They didn’t tell me about the greylight.
I can accept that people do not want to venture into such a world. After all, the dampness brings with it a deep chill, there is no destination, there is no grandeur to catch the eye, and there is uncertainty of what lies ahead.
To go into the greylight means not being concerned with where one is going, or what one is going to see, but to focus on how one is going. It is a state of mind, a gradual reveal, tree by tree, of unknown paths hidden by a sodden, feuille-morte cloak of once lush green leaves.
This afternoon, John and I went out into the greylight, once again.
“Which way do you want to go John?” I asked, once we found the edge of the forest.
He answered that he’d like to go left. I asked him why he chose to go that way,. He replied: “Because today we can, and we might not ever be able to again.”
That was hours ago now. The grey has since transformed into black, the thunder has arrived, and the rain is teeming down in the wettest month of the year. Now, it is time to curl up under a blanket. Actually, that should be under a second blanket.
This really is a beautiful part of the world and the only way to know this is to be in it. I am grateful for this opportunity and grateful to be able to share it as I did today.