A pretty benign image. A blue sky. Note towards the bottom the light veilings of clouds. They are and they aren't. Mostly not. As the day will progress, those white whisps will thicken and disperse and darken some. By 4 in the afternoon the sun will be dimmed from a pervasive heat haze. It is actually a blessing. Filtering the sun, the temps dip from the high 90'sF to the low 90'sF.
It's hot here in the Lunigiana. In all of Italy. Extremely hot. Unbearably hot. Dangerously hot. The humidity of the nearby Mediterranean Sea is no help. Nor the lighter, cooler air of the Apuane Peaks. The cold and hot don't meet. Thus, there's no release. N'er an afernoon thunder shower. Just as well. Would be hotter & muggier, if it were to happen. By sunset though, the haze will clear out, the twinkly stars will come out, the night will become cool. Lovely time of the year. Maybe.
Dinner conversations revolve around the intense heat and the damage to trees, shrubs, roses... vegetable gardens. Global Warming is never mentioned. People in the village don't quite believe or accept the imported term. They do know that the Summer heat of this year and for the last decade is not what it was like before. Summer struggles to emerge and yet, when it does arrive, like a shot from a cannon, the daily temps rocket towards 100F and stay there for weeks on end. All is sapped. No rain, no water, the last, in or under the ground. I walk the dogs on the way to the cool of the forest behind il Poggiolo and there are a few trees decked out in a toasty burnt red. Premature Fall? Might just be dead. The heat is so severe and water is hidden in weird pockets of moisture below a cement like crust, if a plant can't get to any wet, it dies almost immediately. A stunning and scary premonition of things to come. Maybe.
Not a happy combination. The African heat... a term used by the news media... and the obvious lack of rain. Down below...
the Aullela River passing Codiponte in mid-August has little water. Trickles through the maize of river stones, pools between them, stopped in most places. Only a thread of H2O continues on. The shallow depth has provoked a phosphorescent acid yellow algae. Quite a look. When You and I bought il Poggiolo, the sight seen today was how the river would have been in mid-September not in August. In October, the rains would come, God Bless. Water restored. Maybe.
The Little Man and his beans has had to deal with a shortened growing season. Abject heat prostration. He does have water from either the river... not much... or, from a well... probably the same. He's pulling up the bean stalks now. The beans are not good, he said. Most are solid, hard, overly cooked by the excessive heat. He is trying to save the crop. This is repeated with many others in the village for their zucchine, pomodori e faggioli nei loro orti.
The last dinner conversation about our weather, the heat, the lack of water et all was a couple of nights ago. A local resident, queried by another regarding the state of her magnificent garden, candidly replied that she was going to pull up all next year to adapt to the new climatic conditions. What? Yes, only plants that can survive with little H2O. Lavander, yucca, rosemary, verbena, bougainvillea, agave... etc.... the traditional & long forgotten Mediterranean vegetation. And very few plants in pots. They need constant watering. Perhaps we will see a resurgence? Good ol' Italian flora. Time and climate tested. Could be.