“December Prelude in Roma”
Birds are still chirping, dogs are still barking, and the breeze is still blowing – but there is an amber glow cast over everything as if Midas was dusting the world with gold. He pays close attention to the trees, taking his time. And so, when the air rushes through the leaves they make a sound so exquisite – a sound like you must have heard when you were being born – the rush of air into and around your ears must be the same as the sound of the air whipping past and around and through the dry and newly gilded leaves of tall tall trees and squat bushes.
And how like childhood when you were dancing in a dirt-devil of leaves through the graves of relatives and fellow parishioners – as you now walk through them in a gait befitting your age but inside you are seven again and surrounded by Skees and Merediths and Smiths who must be laughing at you from their graves and your grandfather too as he is lowered into his final resting place.
The crunch of the gilded leaves beneath your boots is so satisfying. Autumn is finally here and you are in a city three thousand miles from the graves of your family members and yet you are still there. You walk down a street over basalt cobblestones with motorinos and Fiats and Peugeots revving by and yet you are in the same town in which you first felt the air whoosh by your ears as you were born.
Do the monuments love this time as much as you? Do the ruins still buried or only just peeking out of the ground appreciate this golden carpet like you do? Surely ancient Roma understands that this golden beauty is just a prelude to the only time of the year when, standing under the branches of trees you can look up and see stars.
(By Mari Thompson, published in "Ciao Roma," the lit magazine of the JFRC)