Matera…the sweet yearnings of travel

Matera, last morning.  In the moment…..

In the moment, I am sitting in the sassi Hotel Sant’Angelo (which I chose because my grandmother used to spend much time in San Angelo, Texas).  Christopher Robin has had a relapse of the cold we both brought home from Indianapolis, and is half-sprawled on the leather couch opposite me, his eyes dull and red as he listens to a book on tape on his Ipod.  We are awaiting out ride to the Bari train station, one day early, because we decided to see about spending a day in Rome.  So, that is where we will go tonight and tomorrow, then fly to England on Tuesday afternoon.  No idea if I can access a computer from there. 

In the moment, there are two young women cleaning up the breakfast dishes, chatting in a low, musical river of Italian.  The bells are ringing again, urgently and energetically–ring ring, ring ring, ring ring, ring ring, ring ring.  Sometimes they ring for hours, but not at every hour.  It seems more to mark medieval day, the names of which I have forgotten, but Matins and Noon and Evening.   I kept worrying that I had no alarm without my cell phone, but the bells woke me at seven each morning. 

Last night, we walked home from the gala and I felt as if it was the last day of camp. I tried to press th
e sights and smells and soft crisp air into my memory–the worn slick granite streets beneathKing_of_the_dogs_matera our feet which made anything but walking sandals impossible, though I carried nicer shoes to events, the little pack of
pale, tan dogs guarding one turn on the road; the beacons of light shining on the hill of sassi.  The creepy cold quiet that spills from the abandoned, empty rooms still quite prevalent alongside the shops and apartments that have been redone.   I will post a little more history of the town when I bring my pictures, but for now, these are simply impressions.

As we walked last night, though the very busy Saturday night streets, I felt that sweet wistfulness of yearning equally for the powerful hug of my big son, and the fluffy feel of my dog’s neck and the quiet of my garden, but also that seductive idea of abandoning the career and the life and becoming that earnest ex-pat who stumbles into learning the language and figuring out the new hours and the possibilities that might present for work, for creativity…..

Of course, I am very rooted where I am.  It is just that pleasurable fantasy, the sweet longing of imagination.  I have felt I could live in Scotland and the west of Ireland and now the south of Italy in this small and ancient city with its blue, blue sky and agreeable population and fantastical sassi.

Tomorrow, Rome!

2 thoughts on “Matera…the sweet yearnings of travel

  1. magycatt

    Ah, sounds like a beautiful place. And I, for one, can certainly remember the feeling of the last day of camp. Sad and excited, fulfilled with the things we learned, comforted by the new friends we made. Yet, still, a little anxious for the familiar life of home. Love ya!

  2. It all sounds beautiful and wonderful. Eat something fabulous and Italian for me : )

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