Leaves and moss and sucking bogs and wind, the grey that cracks to sunshine and then the mosquitoes that figure 8 curve back and again on me, the tannic rivers and the suggestion if not reality of cold, ambient glow at 3am
I can’t hear what my companions are saying unless they’re up close. The hiss and knock of the drops on the gore tex whirlpool sucks all of our shouts down, and then the cold slows the light itself.
Edgeless days, us and the sky forward. Tonight we’ll belt mouthfuls of Jameson from a .5l plastic bladder that I refill at the wine monopoly government liquor stores in the bigger towns a week apart, but not if we’ve rolled through late. And the talk wanders, floats on thermals from our camaraderie.
The settling serenity is that it’s lost the instant after it comes. What’s left is analog, elemental substance: brown bog grasses, hillocks, snowpatches, refracting droplets, stone.
Lost in a watercolor smear between hilltops and sky until every shard was just a tighter spiral of repetition to a grey singularity. Windblow enough to not be able to hear what’s said, but the cadence and tonal shape is enough, the absence of reference points and yet we’re still here.
This southern central part of the country isn’t mountainous, but the hills come bright cymbal crashes to our tired legs again and again.
Today a second in Italy’s yellow argent temps, tracks through apricots or peaches, morning roadies “ciao!”, seems at every town we stop to fill up at the spigot or fountain.
Unmistakably Italy, the hilltops in every distance with a villa, spruce lined approaches, groves.
A day with an end where you recall it and it doesn’t seem as if it could have been just one.
Tiny gravel roads, sometimes one paved lane, single track double track, paths through crushed riverside rock. The plan is a nine day circuit round this half of the country, toes across the Austrian border and then later a thirty hours in Italy before crossing over again.