Tag Archives: seasons

Canal near Chivasso, Italy

Autumn resolutions list

Last week was blessed with plenty of perfect late summer/early autumn weather, with warm-but-not-hot days and brisk nights, and long afternoons with melancholy light. I had to travel to Milan for work twice, and both days I couldn’t stop staring at the view from the train window across the fields of eastern Piemonte and to the alps, which are still bare of snow this early in the year. These are the sorts of days I think of when you say autumn, which feels a bit silly because autumn here is mostly overcast days and drizzle. But even if my ideas of autumn are more often ideals than reality, I do love the season, especially in these early days before the winter darkness gets too close.

Here are some things I would like to do this year (this list is short partly to keep things achievable and partly because a good chunk of the weekend time I’d usually spend on planning/writing a blog post was spent on working on items 1 and 2 — at least I’m getting started on my resolutions early!):

  1. Continue eating gelato regularly until it gets too cold to reasonably stand around outside with a cup of frozen stuff in my hands. Once it stops being so hot I need gelato, I have a terrible tendency to forget about it, which is daft.
  2. Find a tea and/or tisane I like. More to the point: find a tea I can smell well enough that it doesn’t feel like drinking hot water. Experiments so far suggest fruity tisanes work, but I would love to find a more traditional tea.
  3. Get out of Torino at least on a day trip at some point. Maybe go for a walk somewhere? Go to Liguria and enjoy the beach without the crowds?
  4. Collect and press some leaves.
  5. Work on my stew/casserole skills. I don’t have a good go-to stew recipe, and it will be a challenge to find one without onions, but there must be something out there!

(I’m impressed with myself: only 60% of my ideas about autumn revolve around food, if you take this list as representative. I would have imagined more like 90%.)

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Snow in Giardini Reali, Turin

Getting the hang of winter.

Way back in October I wrote about autumn here in Torino, so I think a winter post is surely due by now. And I’ve had my laptop open half the afternoon, thinking, come on, you can talk about winter! it’s not that hard! And I’ve made cups of tea, I’ve fetched my doona to wrap around me on the sofa, I’ve kicked the doona off and puttered around the living room, and I haven’t written a word about winter, because I can’t pin down what I think of it.

The light is very pretty but there’s not enough of it, is I think how I would summarize.

Magic light this afternoon.

Magic light this afternoon. The sun was soon behind a building and my living room went dark.

Actually, we’ve had a decent number of clear sunny days in the past few weeks, days that remind me of Perth winters where you can walk on the beach in the sunshine and even push your sleeves up if the wind isn’t strong.

Except that here, even the sunny days are short, and the overcast days are shorter. I love that in late December we get magic afternoon light by 2pm, I just wish we didn’t get nightfall by 5pm.

Because the problem I haven’t solved yet is how to get myself to go out and do things once it does get cold and dark, which means that 7pm has found me with my doona on the sofa more often than I’d like. Do I go straight from work so I can’t stop at the sofa? Make more effort to organize social events I can’t skip? I did get myself out the door and power-walking down Corso Regina the other night after I’d read something that made me too cross to stay sitting down, but I’m not sure the exercise gains are enough to counter the emotional cost of “read poorly-argued things you disagree with” as a strategy.

But then — thinking out loud here — do I want to go out more? Maybe it’s wise to have a season where I’m not active, where I can’t pretend that I’m a Busy Important Person who is busy Doing Important Things, where I recognize that no matter how much I do in my life my achievements aren’t going to last very long. On an overcast day, everything seems grey and same-y, until I start to¬†look closely at what’s in front of me, to see shape and pattern and texture and muted colour differences. Maybe I need to take winter as a reminder to pay attention to the quieter parts of my life.

So I’m not sure yet what I think about winter, but I’m starting to think it has something to teach me.

Oh yeah, and snow. Still don't quite have the hang of living with that.

Oh yeah, and snow. Still don’t quite have the hang of living with that, even when it’s barely there.