All posts tagged: martha cooley

From the Stone House: Blow Wind

A few minutes’ walk from our village—down one hill and up another—is an old convent that’s been converted into an albergo, a rustic inn.   Its name is Giardino della Luna, or Garden of the Moon—an oblique reference to Lunigiana, this hill-and-dale region at the northern tip of Tuscany, which is studded with little medieval villages and their churches, convents, and castles. 

From the Stone House: Blow Wind
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From the Stone House: Among the Olives

I have a friend who says he simply cannot trust somebody who doesn’t like garlic.  Though I wouldn’t go that far, I’m taken aback when someone spurns an olive.

To me, olives are the most sublime of all things pluckable from a tree—and what a tree it is, l’ulivo, with those feathery silver-green leaves that shimmer in sunlight, glint in brisk winds, glimmer after rain… The slender branches are extremely strong yet flexible; they don’t mind a good stiff shake.  The bark of an olive tree is gorgeous, too, with a patina of silver that softens its rough grey-brown wrinkles.  Then there are the tree’s roots—admirable contortionists, able to twist around big rocks and support trees canted at odd angles on steeply terraced hills. 

From the Stone House: Among the Olives
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From the Stone House: Reading Stevie Smith in Milan

Beauty is overrated.  Beauty is underrated.

Three months ago, shortly after moving to Italy for the year, I was walking along via Montenapoleone in Milan, gazing at lovely summer togs and shoes in the shops (beauty is overrated?), when I nearly stumbled into a bearded man wearing dirty shorts and old sneakers.  He sat spread-legged on the sidewalk, an empty, leaning-Tower-of-Pisa paper cup between his knees.  Not the right street for such begging, I found myself thinking—too upscale, everyone carrying credit cards rather than change.  Nobody wanting to be bothered, what with the insufferable humidity and all the gorgeous distractions in the shop-windows.

From the Stone House: Reading Stevie Smith in Milan
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From the Stone House: On Belonging

As the crow flies, Montereggio is perhaps a dozen kilometers from Castiglione del Terziere, my Italian home for a year.  But Lunigiana—this northern part of Tuscany, between the Emilian plain and the Mediterranean Sea—is so hilly that I never know how many dizzying switchbacks a road might boast, thus how long it’ll take to get from A to B.  (Or how many times en route our car will have to edge past another coming at it.  Sometimes both vehicles must fold in their side-mirrors like wings so as to squeeze by.)   

From the Stone House: On Belonging
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Geometry

By MARTHA COOLEY

LINES

An urban garden-party in spring, at dusk. The light waning, the air mild, the walled garden compact but lush.

A cat slinks along one flower-bed’s edge. Guests arrive singly and in couples; they pass through the brownstone’s ground floor to the patio at the back, exchanging handshakes and cheek-kisses as they meet. Their voices generate a steady babble.  

Geometry
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