Monday, August 9, 2010

St. Thomas Aquinas

My latest portrait (well until the one I did today) - Monica from the best gelato shop in town

My house is the last on the street out of Roccasecca right next to the statue Of St. Thomas Aquinas who was born here. He stands fifteen metres high, bare foot with a book in his hand, leaning forward as if about to stride out over the plain and is perhaps the reason the people are so proud of their town. There are many public sculptures both old and contemporary in a town half the size of Whitianga (take note councillors!).
At six I kneel to the altar of my coffee machine (no room for it on my bench) and walk early along unpretentious country lanes. Small farms, around 3 hectares, olives, grapes, fruit and nuts, large vege gardens, tomato, bean, eggplant, lettuce. They grow all their own food and make wine, olive oil, tomato paste etc. Small flocks of floppy eared sheep, goats and a cow or two graze in fields of cornflower blue and queen annes lace.
The well kept houses 2-3 story, some white but mostly soft creams and browns with orange tile roofs without flower gardens all concrete and tile with big pot plants.
I climb high up a stony track in a narrow gorge to the 11th century church Eremo Spirito Santo built into the rock with a hermit cave above it. Well preserved but used rarely except for the sheep (religion Baha’i??) it’s as if time has stopped. The bell up as if to ring down and inside a withered apple an open drawer and faded family photos.
So I swing home to a day at the easel happy with the rhythm of my life.

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