This is my third week back in NYC without Fabio. I’m feeling a little homesick for him and the house – thus, another dose of nostalgia from the holiday visit.
I’m fairly obsessed with the idea of living in the house and tending to every season of fruit that comes with it. Christmas 2009 brought another season in the garden: snow. The weather gods were totally with me. My flight left smack dab between a foot of snow in Manhattan on one side and a 2 foot dumping in Milan on the other. I felt like I held my breath the whole flight to Malpensa… hoping that it would ward off the forecast storm in Italy until I got there. And it did.
It rained soft persistent snow for 2 full days after I arrived. With no wind, it fell straight down and piled in gentle layers on everything. Each fence post grew a tall snow cap. Every tree branch was coated with thick fluffy icing, turning the world into a Scandinavian snow forest. The silence was mesmerizing.
We spent the first 3 nights at his parents house on the other side of the lake. We always stay in the same room with a simple iron double bed, decorated by a delicate silver rosary with glow beads wrapped and dangling over our heads. The rest of the room is modern, with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors. Every time I opened my eyes, I stared out the window, warm under the down duvet snuggled next to Fabio. I imagined the trees would be as cozy under their snow blankets. As it cleared, car lights below twinkled through the snow-crusted branches along the lake road.
When the deluge finally stopped, we drove over to our house to check on the garden. Our footsteps broke the knee-high snow on the path leading up the hill from the gate. It was all white snow, grey sky, and brown trees – with the exception of the persimmons. The persimmon tree was decked out in full Christmas with hundreds of orange round baubles hanging from every branch. I’d seen the persimmons before in winter, but never like this. They were densely packed with heavy branches dangling just a few feet from the ground.
We trudged up the snowy stone steps, around the chestnut tree to the cachi or persimmons. Every fruit was covered in a dewy, shimmery frost; some with hats of snow. It was the height of the persimmon season and they literally fell off into our hands.
Clean from the blizzard, we split them in half with our fingers, turning them inside out to bite the gooey sweet centers. We picked enough to fill two flat crates – maybe 80. We could have stayed all day, but it was getting dark. Fabio took my picture under the fairytale tree and pressed his lips warmly on the tip of my frozen nose. Time to go.