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Towards an approaching season

Di Antonio Caneva, 16 maggio 2013

When you die, would you like to be buried in the Alps village where you were born, or in Milan?
Not at the village.
Look, when you die, there will be only your son coming to visit your grave, while the village graveyard is a place of recollection, tidy, peaceful, always open, where the people who grew up with you can come anytime they wish to bring you a thought and a flower.
I was talking with my wife at the cemetery in Rapallo, where we had gone to lay a flower on my mother’s grave for Mother’s Day.
Turning around, near my mother’s grave, I could see the tombs of some very elderly people: sister Emilia who passed away at 92, the singer Franco Longhi, known by the stage name of Johnny, and, next, an unadorned mound of earth, without even a name, marked by a cross put together with two planks of wood, held in place by a tape which had probably belonged to a roller shutter.
In contrast with this view, the sea-front, on the contrary, was full of life: a man cycled past me, followed by his child, an acrid smell of varnish came from the beach, where the huts were being repainted for the approaching season, small boats were sailing in the distance, and the rhododendrons in the park were going out of bloom to make space for the brooms.
Heedless of the biting economic crisis, the holiday resort was awakening; people were smiling, the tobacconist was commenting that from now on until October he would not have a single day off, the restaurants were re-opening after the winter break, and the drive to action that transforms everyone into an entrepreneur was re-surfacing with gusto.
We are again ready for the season, we are willing to go the extra mile, with a resolve that often does not reflect the realities around us, but luckily belongs to us, and allows our country to hold on to the little optimism that still remains.

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