The Windmill in my Mind

The average age of those who’ve died of COVID-19 in Italy is 78.

Sixty percent of those infected are men. Seventy percent of those who die are men. Women, for reasons not yet explained, seem to be more resilient. Maybe it’s their biology and the fact that their bodies are engineered to create and sustain life.

Parian Windmill

Last summer we would take our evening walk on a road that followed the sea. At a certain point we would sit down on the little wall flanking the road just to watch the sunset. Once the sun disappeared behind the horizon line, we’d sigh then continue our walk past the windmill that’s now a bar. We knew then that we were lucky and that made us even luckier. Because if you’re lucky and don’t know it, it’s like not being lucky at all.

Despite the lockdown, we continue to be lucky. First of all, we have one another…I can still get a hug when I need one. Plus we have Volver, our cat, who continues to purr and rub himself up against us. Food is not lacking nor is a warm bed with clean sheets. There’s no shortage of art supplies and internet helps keep us in touch with family and friends. Of course I miss and worry about my loved ones. But they are safe and holding out psychologically.

It’s another beautiful day to be alive!

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The Garden of Eden on a Balcony

In the U.S. more people have died of the coronavirus than from the September 11 massacre.

In Italy, we’ve reached a plateau indicating that things are getting better. Unfortunately, because so many parents are freaking out having to stay inside all day with their children, permission has now been given for a parent to take a child out for a walk. It is, in my opinion, a very unwise decision. After China eased up on restrictions, people began getting infected again.

My sleeping schedule is in disarray. A couple of weeks ago, I would fall asleep but then wake up during the night with a sense of anxiety. Now I don’t even fall asleep.

What is so very overwhelming about the coronavirus is that it saturates the atmosphere with the presence of death. There is no spontaneity in daily life, just a constant worry to take necessary precautions or wind up dead. To give me hope, I’ve planted seeds. Because planting a seed means believing in a future.

Every morning I rush to the balcony to see if any of my seeds have sprouted. Of course it is too soon but I’m like a child eager for the arrival of Santa Claus. Just as a child looks forward to the gifts he’ll receive at Christmas, I look forward to the day when my seeds will transform into little green heads pushing up from under the dirt.

Balcony Garden

The yucca have been rearranged to make room for food producing plants. But I’ve read that much of the yucca is edible.

Balcony Garden

Since I can’t go out to buy seeds, I’ve planted the seeds from fresh produce. Above: cherry tomatoes and bell peppers.

Harvested lettuce.

Sometimes, if you want a paradise, you have to make it yourself.

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The Little Red Hen

We’ve been in lockdown for three weeks now.

Yesterday the news was good. Fewer people are being infected. However, it’s still too early to relax. And, unfortunately, there are fools running around outside instead of staying home. If they are stopped by the police, these fools risk a fine of E400-E3000.

It would appear that many heads of state and politicians were deprived, as children, of bed time stories. Like that of “The Little Red Hen.”

The Little Red Hen

A little red hen by the name of Rossa saw that the food supplies were running low. So, to prepare for the future, she decided to plant some wheat to make bread. Rossa asked the other farmyard animals for help but they said no as they preferred strutting around at the stock show. So Rossa planted then harvested the wheat all by herself. When it was time to take the wheat to the mill to turn it into flour, she asked her barnyard friends for help. But they said, once again, no and, instead of helping, sat in the sun mooing and neighing and oinking as if they didn’t have a care in the world. So Rossa took the flour and made some bread. The lovely smell of the freshly made bread had everyone running to Rossa’s ready to eat. But Rosa simply replied ”Shoo! Shoo!” and ate the bread herself.

Moral of the story: if you want something to eat, you’ve got to get organized and prepare. Just as you have to do if you want to be ready to affront emergencies like that of the coronavirus. Worldwide, budget cuts were made in terms of healthcare. But, in the long run, how much money was saved? The economic aftermath of this pandemia will leave many people penniless. Businesses will be destroyed and people left without a job. By far more money was spent fighting the virus than was money saved with budget cuts.

And although I have been pro-Europe, it is not obvious that you need more than a common currency to create a union. Maybe it’s time to regroup. The Mediterranean countries would be better off creating uniting together as the alliance with Germany has been, for the most part, a stress. It is blatantly obvious that, to adequately affront the COVID-19, much money is needed and not just in terms of medical care. People in quarantine cannot work and, for many, this means no income. Therefore it is imperative that a state funded income is needed.

Italy is not the only European country with this problem. So, along with some other countries, proposed issuing joint “corona” bonds to help with the economy. But Germany, along with the Netherlands, responded with a sharp “Nein!” Pity that Germany has a short memory.

After WWI and WWII, Germany, largely responsible for the wars in the first place, was overwhelmingly in debt. Furthermore, according to the 1945 Potsdam conference, Germany was to pay the Allies $23 billion to compensate for some of the damage they’d done. Angela Merkel has forgotten how Europe cancelled half of Germany’s war debt to help Germany get back on its feet. Germany should show more gratitude because, had it not been for this cancellation, Germany would not have the economic stability it enjoys today.

Furthermore, it thanks to a German (from Bavaria) that the virus arrived in Italy (as I already mentioned HERE).

Solidarity is a word not everyone knows the meaning of.

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Related: The coronavirus crisis has brought the EU’s failings into sharp relief + German state minister kills himself as coronavirus hits economy + La rabbia di Tullio Solenghi contro la Germania che nega i coronabond + Prodi: “Se succede la grande crisi gli olandesi a chi venderanno i tulipani?” + Failing to coordinate against the coronavirus pandemic may be very costly for the world, says Stanford scholar + Fighting Pandemic, Europe Divides Again Along North and South Lines + Eurozone misses a chance to cover its flaws with ‘corona bonds’ + Coronavirus, il vademecum della Polizia sulle nuove multe + The Little Red Hen is an American fable first collected by Mary Mapes Dodge in St. Nicholas Magazine in 1874.

Germany owes Poland over $850 billion in WW2 reparations: senior lawmaker + «La Merkel ha dimenticato quando l’Europa dimezzò i debiti di guerra alla Germania»

The debt write-off behind Germany’s ‘economic miracle’, Six decades ago, an agreement to cancel half of postwar Germany’s debt helped foster a prolonged period of prosperity in the war-torn continent. The new government in Athens says Greece – and Europe – now need a similar deal + Dividing the Spoils + Reparations – Complications of cold war compensation + Coronavirus may have reached Italy from Germany, scientists say

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Have mercy on us all.

Soon it will be Easter, a celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection. For centuries artists have commemorated the event in their art. One such commemoration is that of Michelangelo’s “Pietà”.

“Pietà”, which means “pity”, was a common theme in Christian art. Generally, as with Michelangelo’s Pietà, Mary is shown cradling her dead son. Michelangelo was only 24 when he completed the famous Vatican Pietà. But, at the age of 89, he made another Pietà, the Pietà Rondanini (now in Milano). He was still working on it five days before his own death.

Pietà

Giacometti, not long before dying, spent hours looking at the Pietà Rondanini. Whereas many had interpreted Michelangelo’s last statue as the sculptor’s end, Giacometti, instead, saw it as a new beginning. Had Michelangelo continued to make one Pietà after another for 1000 years, said Giacometti, they would all be unique simply because Michelangelo  was too busy moving ahead to fall backwards.

The difference between the two statues is overwhelming. That of the Vatican is slick and smooth and animated. The statue’s mass is a pyramid in a desert of space. Jesus, draped on his mother’s lap, is deposed from life. There’s nothing left in Mary’s expression but resignation.

However, although in comparison it may seem to be clumsier, there’s almost defiance in the Pietà Rondanini. The chisel marks are distinct and, like wrinkled skin, indicate the motion of time.  Jesus is no longer distended but, with his mother’s help, erect. And ready for the ascension.

Michelangelo’s view of life was borderline Baroque until, near death, it became somewhat Minimalistic. Because perception changes with age, there’s no way the you of today can be the same as the you of yesterday. Perception also changes with circumstances. Just look at how the coronavirus has reorganized our perception of priorities.

Easter was not meant to be an economic happening. It was meant to celebrate life. And what better way to celebrate now than to stay home to protect our own life and the lives of others.

God gave us a brain so let’s use it.

 

 

Related: Dr. Anthony Fauci: Trump’s desire to reopen the country by Easter is an ‘aspirational projection’ +  Coronavirus: Trump and religious right rely on faith, not science  + Earlier this week, Donald Trump announced during a virtual town hall with Fox News that he would “love to have the country opened up“ by Easter Sunday, which falls on April 12 this year +  Michelangelo’s “Pietà Rondanini”, an incunabulum of contemporary art

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A Lost Horizon

It’s Sunday morning but all mornings now seem like Sunday…no one outside, no noise, no shops opened. Nothing but lockdown.

The days continue to glide one into the other.

It would seem that by now I would have finished many books, diligently studied Greek, completed accumulated sewing projects, etc. But no. It’s as if I’m continually distracted and can’t focus on anything except the new reality, a prison without bars. We’ve been sentenced inside but without knowing for how long. The concept of future has been postponed indefinitely.

Curglaff

 “Curglaff” is an archaic Scottish word for the feeling of shock experienced with plunging into cold water, a word I can related to as it always takes me a while to convince myself to go into the sea. Being sensitive to change, the icy sensation on my back makes me scream. But once the shock is over, I’m okay. My body adjusts to the extreme change and I can tranquilly swim around. Then, once back on the beach, I sit in the sun at look at the horizon . There is something very magical yet comforting about it. A horizon line makes the world seem bigger and helps me understand that there’s more to life than only  my personal worldview. But, for the moment, there are no horizons. Just walls.

Please do not feel that I am slumping into depression and/or resignation with these words. I am simply trying to adapt. It’s a curglaff-coronavirus moment as I am trying to adjust, mentally, to the knowledge that the world as I’ve known it no longer exists.

After weeks of lockdown, people here in Italy are starting to get nervous not just about staying inside, but about not having enough money to buy food. So yesterday evening, Primer Giuseppe Conte, announced on TV that emergency measures were being taken to ensure that everyone had something to eat. The shock of hunger is not to be ignored.

Italians have style in more ways than one. To help out, Armani is making medical smocks, Ferrari is making ventilators, Bulgari is making hand disinfectant, and Gucci is making protective masks.

Designer curglaff.

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