Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A big, muddy garage sale

Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Proof! The Church of San Giovanni Battista has made huge progress, but you can still see in the corner the line where the water rose to.

Apparently I wasn't the only one who was able to find and save a beautiful painting.

The things that can be saved...

Newly liberated from mud - as you can see from previous pictures, this used to be completely submerged.
Look inside the supermarket on the left - people are working so, so hard and it shows
When I look to Vernazza, in the distance, I have such sad feelings. The day of the flood, talk was on Via 4 Novembre, then turned to the Old Town, since we could only speculate how everything fared. At one point, that night, we looked towards Vernazza and saw the lights in the harbor and up to the castle. We all had grim thoughts, but no one knew that they had suffered as horribly we did. Now, when I look over to the harbor, I see construction, even this far away (you can probably see the crane looming over the town), and again, that's a great sign for me.
There is such a thing as the "fishbowl effect". It occurs when you are in a situation that results in being observed from the inside-out, similar to a little fish in his glass abode, with big human eyes staring in.
This is a feeling I felt a little bit yesterday, as I noticed a handful of tourists filming and snapping pictures as we worked outside hosing off our muddy kitchen and bar, and the framework that we can save from the inside of the Cantina. It's a feeling that I also get when I see a train pass by overhead of Piazza Belvedere in the Old Town - not as much now, but a few weeks ago people crowded the windows of passing trains with curious faces, observing what the flood had done to the lives of this little town. Now, I'm so happy that people are looking down at progress and construction and at the dramatic difference. There's mud, yes, but it's coming from cleaning up this mess. With everyone hosing off and cleaning what can be salvaged from the newly freed storefronts and businesses, the affect is similar to a muddy garage sale. Belongings littering the streets, and everyone pitching in as the walk by - for a minute, for an hour, for a day or two. We have people I never saw before helping us in the Cantina. This is just as heartwarming as the comforting smell of bleach and ammonia. It means "clean", and it means progress - and it means that the people have something to see when the look out the windows. I hope this muddy garage sale effect has the same positive feeling for them it does for me. And I hope those pictures that the tourists snapping get sent home with stories to accompany them of a huge flood and devastation - and a community working hard and fast to eagerly move past it.

1 comment:

  1. Whenever I have to do something really, really hard...or really, really gross...and it absolutely, positively *has* to be done, I am always grateful to be doing it with friends. My dad (a veteran) calls these friends, trench mates - the ones who love you enough to get down and dirty with you to do what must be done. I love reading your blog and I 'get' your love affair with Monterosso whenever I see your entire town of trench mates. Bravo to all of you! And pat yourselves on the back for how far you've come already. You guys are doing a great job. Spring will come and you will once again stand in the doorway of the Cantina, watching the sea at night and hearing music and laughter and knowing that all of you made it happen - because, dear one, you don't just run a business; you make a place where other people's dreams of Italy can come true.