I get back to Emma and to Frank around lunchtime. Mauro has invited us for a meal – local recipes with local ingredients, very tasty! After what I have read about the history of Montesole (and after all 70 years is not such a long time), it comes as a pure miracle that any Italian, especially those who have connections to Montesole, would be friendly to any Germans. Yet, with all the people here, I feel nothing but a hearty welcome, and especially Mauro is open and friendly. The day before, he had seen us gathering wood and offered the use of his tractor. We had a playful time together, the three of us, driving the tractor and riding in the front loader. As a byproduct to play, we also collected enough wood to replenish our store and some to pile up inside the van.


Mauro is a keen archer, so after our very delicious lunch, he invites us to come and join a target session. We are both given an English longbow to shoot with and Mauro gives us some basic instructions on how to hold the bow and shoot the arrow. It is such fun; finding the concentration on the aim, aligning the body and the breathing, stilling the mind and following the arrow on the way to its target. The minute I start thinking about something else, the arrow wavers and doesn’t hit the target.


In his workshop, Mauro has the wherewithal to work with metal, and on his self-made machines, he creates the most amazing knives, very sharp and some where the metal has been folded again and again Japanese style to create a beautiful pattern on the blade.


Nothing is black and white. Obviously a bow and arrow, as well as knives, are weapons. There is a beauty and simplicity to these weapons that is very attractive. I’m also attracted by the focus that they bring to my mind. And yet, I’m distraught at the thought of the violence that happened here in Montesole, and is happening now in Syria and many other places in this world. Of course the two things are at very different ends of a spectrum, but yet somehow they belong together.

As the sun sets over the hills, we bid a fond farewell to Mauro. He has become a friend in the short time that we knew each other. We connected with his playfulness, his willingness to help, his joy in sharing his archery passion, and his open heart and generosity. It was wonderful spending these days with him.


For more photos, of this and the preceding chapter, go to flikr

Besides being a restaurant, Il Poggiolo is also a B&B – to contact Mauro, go to his web site.

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