by Melinda Gallo

On the verge of spring

A few days before spring officially begins and I'm truly excited. I love it when we are on the verge of a new season. I love how the weather is quirky: the sun also teases us with its warm afternoon rays, but then quickly disappears so we are left unprepared for the brisk evenings. Each morning I open up the persiane (shutters) and don't know if it's going to be sunny, cloudy, or rainy. I look out at the Arno and smile because it is so beautiful right now. When it rains a lot, the Arno becomes a muddy brown and in the summer it turns a murky green, but at this time of year it is an emerald green that shimmers in the light. It seems to be happy too.

Another big change during this season is the change of fruits and vegetables. I went to see my ortolano (greengrocer) today. For the last few months I had been rattling off the same items to buy: clementine (clementines), arance da spremere (oranges to juice), pere (pears), and spinaci (spinach). I got in a routine and ate the same fruits and vegetables almost every day.

Now the clementine and arance are slowly disappearing. My ortolano has some from Spain if I really want them, but the season for them both is coming to an end.

Because the local fruits for the new season haven't yet arrived, my ortolano had some susine (plums) from Chile, poponi (cantaloupes) from Morocco, uva (grapes) from Chile, and fragole (strawberries) from the Basilicata.

I know that if I were left to my own devices, I probably wouldn't change my diet, but here in Italy I feel as if it is natural to change and my own tastes seem to go with these changes. Alessandro feels the change much deeper than I do. A few weeks ago, he no longer wanted to eat the clementine as his body must sense it is the end of the season. I was still eating them up until yesterday!

I bought a few susine and ate them up. Again Alessandro didn't feel like eating them because for him the season for the susine hasn't really begun. They were delicious and I can't wait for the local ones to arrive.

While I write this, the weather has changed once again. This morning it was cool and cloudy, and now as the sun is setting the sky is rumbling and it has begun to rain. This is spring: full of surprises and changes.

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