When, yesterday, we dropped in on a friend, who lives at a mill in nearby Val Fegana, only to find that for the second time this year river flood waters had again attempted to cut him off from the outside world by damaging the footbridge to his property (quite apart from wiping out half his garden) we again realised on a local (as well as a very global!) level that the climate is, indeed, changing.
So far, the temperatures this winter have been well above freezing and the rainfall has been, to put it mildly, excessive. In our own property damp has affected walls hitherto deemed secure from the green peril and I’ve had to salvage several books whose spines had gone black with mildew. I felt sympathy with Shelley who in 1817, while living in a cottage in Marlow by the river Thames, had his library affected by the same problem. I’m sure that Percy’s beloved books would have been safe when he moved to Bagni di Lucca the following year to complete that translation of Plato’s “Symposium”. We are not living in a damp valley but on the slopes of hills that eventually descend to the Mediterranean Sea!
Going back to the photos of that first January of 2006 spent in Longoio confirms, indeed, that the climate has changed…very considerably. Then, the first snows had already fallen, the skies were crispy blue and it was both sunny and icy.
At the time I’d been doing some dog-sitting for a couple and it was, therefore, essential that the weather kept fine as the dog was not small and needed decently long walks. Fortunately, the weather was wonderfully wintery and the dog and I were able to take our constitutionals with ease.
A great walk from Longoio is to a place called la Fredda. The path crosses birch forests and finishes up at a little plateau from whence fine views can be had of the main Apennine ridge including Monte Rondinaio on one side and the Pania della Croce massif in the Apuan mountains on the other. I attempted this walk the other day but had to abandon it because the footpath was so muddy that if I slipped I might have easily fallen into a waterfall’s precipice.
How can anyone deny climate change today? Perhaps only those with vested interests in covering it up or perhaps those who are so removed from the rhythms of nature and the seasons that they are completely unaware of what is happening to our precious spaceship earth …..