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Amber Paulen

Spring Cleaning

Spring: the most prominent time of change and renewal, from the old to the new. This spring has turned on us its ugly face. It’s La Niña they say. France is white, London had snow and Bracciano is still cold and wet. Spring, this year, may only reveal itself in metaphor. Though the countryside is teeming with bursting green hues and of all the cats come for food outside our new door, half are round as balls.

Last week I knew it was Spring when Sofá Sofonisba started yowling outside our old door. Spring comes down hard on female cats with all their inside parts intact. We were contemplating having babies; one of the guys that came around was good-looking, he was very persistent, and their courting game was funny until we wanted to go to bed. Then that god-awful yowling became too insistent and his barbed penis may have been the punishment deserved. But then we moved and the stress incurred knocked all depraved behavior right out of her. Next week Sofá Sofonisba will be spayed.

And that brings me to the second right of Spring: moving and subsequently house cleaning, throwing away and packing and carrying and re-organizing so that it seems as if we’ve only been here, in the new place and that the old place didn’t exist at all. Which is a likely sentiment on my part. The relief of leaving the old place can be measured in the comparative difference of their sizes. We have moved into a home, whereas that was an office that we slept in and had to shower and cook in. And we did it for nine months! We must have been crazy! There must have been some kind of drugging involved!

The kitchen: with an inch of counter, a sink and three gas burners, was all snugly locked up in its tomb of a cupboard. The bathroom: with a toilet and a sink and some cabinets, all in the shower. Those were the major complaints, along with dust in the eye and general lack of space. But the floor was beautiful and it was carina. . . though this place is carinissima.

There is a small piazza outside our new door; there are no cars; there is only old old stone and singing birds in the cold Spring morning. There is a plaque out there with some writer’s name on it, one Peter Nichols, which is good luck for me, for here, I will finish the book. Here I have a proper desk and a room that I may work in. Here I will finally push it out through the quiet of all the mornings and afternoons that will make up the coming year.

Next Spring, I have a feeling, will be a metaphor much much stronger. Next Spring the book will have completely passed out of my mind. I will be able to throw away all the stuff accumulated and hopefully head to the hemisphere where by crossing an invisible line, spring becomes fall. But for now, there is this Spring and hopefully this Spring will soon decide to turn on Bracciano it’s beautiful, glowing face.

Bracciano Italia
April 2008


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