And suddenly the autumn is here again, this time in the same country as last time. In changes of seasons I feel the most sentimental, like on birthdays and days of celebrations, when the memory of a lost family member is the most painful and prominent. It’s like the sound of the forest dove outside our bedroom window, the cold high air and extra layers of jumpers are throwing me back into rural Romania again. The Balkan autumn feels like a lost close friend I share so many beautiful memories with, and I miss her so much.
If I lived in our village house now, I’d be picking the grapes and perfect our vine making procedure (see old post here), going to our neighbours with the grape skins a few weeks later, and we’d make tuica in tanti Marias and Marinelas time-machine-looking distillery made out of a barrel. It would take all day, keeping the fire going, swapping bottles, going back and forth between the gardenwork, food making and distillery. Leaves would be swept from the yard and then burnt, wood would be chopped and stacked and when it got chilly we’d put on a knitted jumper and stand close with a glass of warm newly made brandy, talking village talk about who’s married who and if the summer was too warm or too wet. We’d talk about pumpkins, sweetcorn and the water level in the well. Maybe a bit Romanian politics and wounds left from the communist times. Nothing further, nothing more abstract than things we could recall from our own world within or observed.
When the evening fell we’d be able to see the stars, close as if they where glued on to a canvas just above us. It did always feel like I’d be able to touch them by climbing up into the tree house. The smell of fire, the dogs barking and the silence from all the chain saws stopping their wood chopping for the day. The feeling of the world being just about the right size and on just about the right distance. Treia, our three legged dog would make herself comfortable on any pile of rubble, staying close, listening to the village talk. When the darkness fell, it was something soft and gentle and complete. We would go inside and fall asleep to the sound of a crackling fire.
If I wouldn’t have shared it with Nigel I might have think I made it all up.