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Later that month….

Here’s what’s been going on in my body and soul the last fourteen days.

I came down with giardia, which I only just diagnosed.  For  ten days I blamed my detox regime for the  sluggishness and lack of appetite and the weird waves of the sort of euphoria that  accompanies the body’s being taken over by a virus. I suspect, without any scientific basis whatsoever, that the “high” I feel a few days before flu symptoms appear is  connected to the fiesta fever of  noxious microorganisms partying in the hospitable environment of my cells.  This time, though, the “high” presented as a heightened sensitivity to color and form, a sharpening of vision and an odd lexical alacrity. Words I hadn’t used in years, and certainly not in the context of Tuscan life, bubbled to the surface of perfectly banal conversations.

But detoxing couldn’t explain all the other symptoms.

The aha moment came on a walk with Ilona, the woman I’ve befriended who lives up the street, and whom I call  Diana-and-the-hounds, in honor of the two white German shepherd bitches she keeps by her side at all times. We stopped on  the dyke overlooking the lake chorusing with frogs. I had one of those body memory moments, when the cells bombard the cognitive part of the brain with the bulletin: you’ve had this metal-in-the-mouth, sand-papered-stomach, no-appetite, nausea, loose bowels, malaise, and chronic fatigue before, buster. Neahkahnie. 1990. Spring. AAAAH- HA! Giardia!

Thanks to the Giardia Club website <; , accurate diagnosis confirmed and re-confirmed a few minutes later by the Doc, who sent me to the farmacia with a prescription for a protozoacide. Not much progress  yet. The one good thing about giarida is that you lose weight rapidly, since you don’t feel like eating and everything you do get down goes straight into the hungry mouths of the little suckers lining your entire alimentary canal. I can just hear them munching and slurping down there. I’ve dropped 2 kilos in ten days. How’s that for swift slimmin’?

I’m a regular in the vivaio (nursery) across from PAM, where I’ve bought endless flats of geranium, daisies, lobelia, vegetables, etc.  There were no raspberry plants.  Instead lassooed a datura, misnamed, of course (it’s actually a brugmansia, but that distinction is evidently of rather recent vintage). I’ve always loved their extravagant and fragrant blooms, not realizing how very toxic — in various ways– are the parts of this plant. We’ll see how it does.


Postoffice closed through Wed morning, thanks to May 1st “ponte” holiday. “Ponte” or “bridge” refers to amplified holidays during which all of Italy is on the road, and all business are closed, thereby eliminating any rational motive for the massive migration of peoples. Cars circle endlessly until arrested by a snag in the traffic, at which point all exit  vehicles, unpack multi-course meals, and carry on — eating, drinking, arguing, and sleeping — as if in the privacy of their own homes. Tourists innocently park cars in seemingly permissible stretches of weed alongside country lanes and return from sightseeing, several hours later, to find their windshields plastered with pink fines. I am opting to stay put, holding out for late afternoon lull in rain to go for my customary ramble in the woods, groves, meadows, and dales, perchance to spot a shy deer, find a porcupine quill, and, god forbid, rouse a boar.

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