Neighbors, Good People, Friends

I thought I was imagining things. I heard shoveling outside while I was snowbound without shovel or boots. I stuck my head out the door and realized I had been hearing the sound of goodness and generosity. Our neighbor was shoveling the heaviest snow I’ve ever seen off my steps and porch. My frustration at my inability to articulate my thanks is measureless.

We had a surprise snow storm yesterday. I was in class in Orvieto when it began. By 11:15, they closed the school. My hilly and winding drive home was getting harrowing when I had to stop – for the first time on my drive – because the few cars in front of me could not get up a hill. I had a chance to look around, and discovered I was almost in front of a school with a parking lot. It was the one and only good place within walking distance of Benano where I could leave my car safely. I had no way of knowing it when I parked the car, but the rest of my route was virtually undriveable. I counted my blessings with each snowy step home.

When it finally stopped snowing last night, I stuck the umbrella out on our porch to measure the snowfall (and maybe some drifting). The tip went down 7.5 inches. I couldn’t see the steps — there was just a slope down to the piazza. In the first picture (the one of my hero with the shovel), you can see my footprint in the right foreground. The wet snow topped my ankles easily.

And that wasn’t the end of it. Mid-morning, there was a knock at the door and the woman on the porch began, in perfect English, “You don’t know me…” She’s a neighbor I didn’t know I had. She and her husband live in Rome and have a house here that they visit on weekends. Because her sister was visiting, they happened to be here yesterday, and got stuck in the snow. One of the full-time residents told her about the English-speaking woman staying all by herself in the big house (that would be me). My new friend brought a few New Yorkers and New York Review of Books to help me while away the hours.

I’m surrounded by good people and new friends. I feel very lucky.