Every year many people (me, too) are trapped in the same trouble that is the extreme summer heat. Clammy skin to start with; dresses, even the ones made of natural materials supposed to better cope with the heat, are soaking wet. Refreshing showers show to be totally superfluous because they are of little or no use. Even the most resistant sun worshipers struggle with the scorching temperatures coming from Africa. Unfortunately, they won’t leave us for several never ending weeks yet.
Consequently towards the end of August, when the first coveted rains arrive, the signs of relief on us “victims’” faces are almost palpable. With every degree Celsius less, the days become more and more bearable until finally turning into enjoyable again. No more tossing and turning in bed during the whole night trying to find cool temperatures and sleep. In a few words the good life is back.
The August downpours, besides lower temperatures, also bring September air reminding us that the autumn equinox is close at hand. The days become short; nature is preparing almost the whole vegetation for a sort of lethargy or restorative sleep. Next spring, flowers, plants and trees will come back to life much stronger and luxuriant than ever.
The woods which we were sharing during the whole summer with wild animals, and, who knows, some wolves, return to being the good of all again. People once again walk on trails, abandoned, left to wind their way alone, during the hot months. The young with well shaved legs bike in colourful techno outfit. Mushroom hunters keep the best spots where to find the culinary delights jealously hidden. Simple walkers, like me, cross paths as well as motorists and motorcyclists, road permitting. Last but not least, the first hunters turn up, too.
Then wild cyclamen appear not just one or two but in droves as if they wanted to underline the statement that the summer season is definitely gone. From now on until the end of winter it will be them who hold the sceptre and reign along the brooks, over the underbrush and the roadsides.
It’s time to bring the last trusses of dry hay under the roof of the barns to protect them from rain.They will feed the animals during the cold winter months. Then it’s the turn of nuts, grapes, figs and chestnuts, the latter much loved by Tuscans. There are, in fact, recipes showing how to prepare a whole series of mouth-watering dishes, all made from chestnuts. And what about jujubes? It’s a classic “fruit of the past”, almost impossible to find in shops but much appreciated by those who are fond of them.
I do not know why but after a couple of weeks from the first rains I already feel the nostalgia for summer. What happened to the memories of the unbearable summer heat? Taken away by a gust of wind! Without a doubt, otherwise I would have to say that sometimes I don’t quite understand myself.