April 4, 2010
It’s Easter, la Primavera, the week of Passover conjoined with equinox and increasing of la luce, light. Buona Pasqua to you, mi amici. Last night with friend Lauren S. we went to San Sabina high up on Aventine Hill, a residential sector, elite, mysteriously quiet, music coming from one house only trickling over the star studded sky, black silhouettes of juniper and cedar, baroque walls where Shelley walked, time stopped. We peeked through the keyhole and saw down an avenue of boxwood (?) the Vatican amazingly pointed lit. This is the view in kid’s storybooks and it has indeed a mysterious sense of false front or supernatural vision. Around us the smell of wisteria, it has just bloomed from oddly prehistoric pallid hairy pendulous bobs, midst mostly dark windows and silent streets—everyone is out of town visiting their grandmother! We showed up early, wandered, were about to leave for another church when the priests (20 of them approximately) came out of San Sabina with 140-200 parishioners holding candles. Lauren whispered: let’s get a candle and on the way in we managed to. First there was a beautiful bonfire outside, increasing in scent as it burnt down (incense inside the bundle?) while the priests sang, the young ones Black and Latin, Asian, ‘imported’ for the church (so much for immigration battles). They lit a large candle—4 feet long, 6 inches in diameter from the fire and then carried it in to the darkened church as we all with small tapers lit by each other ‘s flame—look in each eye as light ‘my fire’— followed. The young priests sang in Latin and as we entered in the dark, eventually lights came on at front, the back still in shadow. The older priest put the large candle in a fancy candelabra, bottomed with breasts and twisted to look like (to these secular eyes) pubis or ass atop twisted legs. He began to sing in Latin without microphone—the church tall and of stone, made out of Roman columns (reminding me somewhat of the Sicilian churches incorporating Hellenic columns)—reverberating his bass voice beautifully for a half hour. Magnificent. We stood, then sat, stood, then sat. The mass began with Genesis: let there be light. We tiptoed out and got on the bike to look for an Enoteca, or wine bar.
Testaccio was amazingly quiet for Saturday night. One bar completely empty so we peeked at the glass wall fronted on the mountain of clay shards that construct that hill—
the discarded remains of thousands upon thousands of amphores: magnificent unintended architecture with intended pipes running through it for air circulation and water drainage. Then on L’s motorino searching for a nice atmosphere, still open. Ended up at Olio e…..?—winebar recommended by Leonard, here at Academy, ate and drank and biked home through Trastevere which unlike the rest of Rome was packed with kids: all those ones escaping church and family or at school here? Trastevere is full of English schools. Beautiful night with the Latin and stars singing out. I am not religious at all but I too can welcome spring.
Earlier that day and yesterday the weather has been fabulous: warm in sun, going down in temperature at night. I’ve spent last two mornings waking up at 7am to shoot the staccato ‘clock’ light of the roman shade as the sun has swung now to front of the room—this close to my last chance to get it on the wall. Soon the sun will swing more forward or rather close to the window than when I got here as I approach more than 4 months past equinox of dec 21st. This light has been a kind of calendar; I have shot in fall, winter and now spring. Hoping I got it adequately—its tricky because the light is hot but it is mostly dark in room. As well, I shot film of the spring blossoms in back garden all yesterday having checked on the weather and realized it was to rain Easter and Easter Monday which is a big holiday here: little Easter it’s called— closed up stores and swimming pools. Friday I swam and stopped at Volpetti’s a fancy tiny deli (like NYC’s Dean and Deluca….?) with expensive goodies so I stocked up on a few small cheeses and salami and fancy ravioli and the price was 35Euro. O my---the place was packed. Easter is a big deal and like all of Italy food tops its pleasures. On that end our barbecue has been cancelled today because of rain but I plan an Easter meal with friends at the Academy.
Wishing you a glass and much light.