Then it rains, and the eyes that saw those same waters run down the streets in town look up to the mountains cautiously. Wood planks, stored away but still close by, close with authoritative and final sounding thuds over new doors and windows. Rain boots come out. And we nervously gather under overhangs, eves, and archways hoping that the rain passes quickly.
Today, it was a grey, windy, rainy day that started out with a strong wind that work me up to take the laundry in, like that fateful day in October. I woke up to news that a freak rockslide on the Via Dell'Amore had left the trail closed and several tourists with severe injuries in the hospital, as they were rescued and airlifted there. I went to Levanto to buy some groceries and snacks for Manuel, stopping to exchange the usual - I can't believe what happened on the trail today - then came back to run to the bank before work. Walking up Via Roma, I opened my umbrella. There were people still eating outside, hoods up on their jackets, plates steaming with food that was contrasting sharply with the humidity of the coming storm and the black clouds forming over the hills.
The rain started to fall hard, fast and the gutters started running off like fountains. The water rushed under the canals, the open grates of the newly rebuilt streets slippery. Hiding in the archway on Via Roma across from Hotel Margherita, one of the hardest hit in the flood, I sat waiting out the storm with Manu's cousin and some other boys from town, as well as a few visitors. An umbrella was rendered useless and all there was to do was wait. We laughed at the inconvenience, but there was an unspoken but noted undercurrent of tension. Someone wiped a stray tear. Those who weren't here last year looked down to the sea. Those who were looked up to the mountains, and the start of the street that had been turned into a swirling current of mud, water and destruction so quickly last October. Manu called me, hysterical learning where I was. As we all discussed going up to the apartment of Manuel's cousin, on the top floor and right there, the rain let up. After 15 minutes, I was able to start to walk back towards the Cantina. I wasn't the only one shaken up - stores boarded up, closed, people immediately went home. A lady next to me mused, perplexed, that it wasn't that bad. I almost laughed out loud. The whole day took a strange feel afterwards, as the sun pushed through the black sky and shone bright and hot over the sea. People played in the water. Wanted to eat outside. I wanted to close and go home. When I say the weather changes quickly here, I'm not exaggerating. I went from 15 minutes of nervous, incredible rain, to sun and shaken villagers.
We laughed off our nerves, but at the same time, no one needed to make excuses or apologies for frantic phone calls, barking orders, and generally freaking out for what turned out to be - thankfully - nothing. We were full for dinner inside and outside, and no one seemed to notice that we were all a little rattled. Until, when we closed tonight, we broke out our wooden planks and sandbags, and for the first time this season, closed them over the Cantina. Lessons learned.