Hello folks, I am a writer. I am now in my 30s and I live in a small little town, they call it Pantigliate. Where the hell is it? Actually not so far from an international airport, a huge city and busy hub – like Milano is supposed to be – and an efficient and well developped highways network. Despite being part of a metropolitan area, Pantigliate is small, remote and definitely lonely.
I am Italian, I was educated in Italian language, my mothertongue is Italian, therefore my mother and my father are Italian. However, I am going to write this blog in English, for I wish to interact with a great number of readers, everywhere in the world. In my dreams Pantigliate lies in the province (not only in my dreams, anyway), but it’s not a provincial place.
One imperfect day of the most imperfect season – March is the most tiring month of the year in Pantigliate, a long and rainy not-yet-springtime – an imperfect guy wakes up. Smoked by the fog, light is too sick and weak to illuminate anything. Days are short, just a few hours to search for happiness into everyday life. It’s saturday today, but Willie wakes up at the usual early time in the morning. Some kind of alarm hidden just behind his eye balls is triggered at 6.00 o’clock every day, shouting “Stop dreaming!” to the brain.
Fuck off. It’s saturday today, tomorrow it will be sunday, and then monday again. Gaiety, good feelings and an incipient headhache foster Willie to get up, and to go through the soft darkness of his flat, from his bed to the kitchen. He fills the moka with powder coffee and water, puts a cup of milk into the microwave oven, and tells to himself: “You have time for a slow breakfast and a long shower, before heading to the community garden…”
Some months ago Willie took part to a meeting in the Pantigliate’s town hall, the mayor, some council members, the president of the local recreational association, and some active citizens were also present. All these people showed great enthusiasm at Willie’s participation to the meeting, for his professional background and competences. This guy’s got a graduation in anthropology, after all, not such a common feature in this small town in the outskirts. At the end of the meeting Willie had been nominated “coordinator” of the local community garden, a place of peace, friendship and collaboration, which would have been soon trasferred from the mayor’s dreams to an actual parcel of land.
Willie had ingenuously accepted the role, being glad of the expetctations all those people had set on him, but also foreseeing this community garden as an antidote, to his solitude.
In this dull saturday morning Willie gets to the community garden a quarter of hour late, finding some volunteers already busy in digging the ground, in order to soften the surface and prepare it to the transplant of plants, which will occur later in May. It’s a hard work, but necessarily to be done at the end of winter. From the very beginning of springtime it’s unlikely that the soil frozens again, in these climates.
After greeting everybody Willy joins Irene, in a corner of the garden. This job appears too heavy for her, so he thinks he had better to bring an help.
They dig together a dozen of minutes, talking about all the small things happened and not happened during the week. At one point Willie’s spade hits something harder than the wet and heavy soil. It doesn’t sound like a stone, it’s more like a root or any other wooden stuff. They lean their spade at one side, and start unearthing that thing removing the soil with their hands. Finally they uncover a light object, delicate and apparently highly breakable, all wrapped in an old and mouldy jute bag.
“It must be ancient…” they consider while bringing that stuff to the light after who knows how many centuries. What’s been so long protected in the bag is astonishing, quite unbelievable in such a dull morning in the community garden. Willie recognizes a gently curved structure, but it’s not made in wood. Considering the colour and the aspect, it must be real bones! To this gentle bow dozens of strings are tightened, like a stairway… or better, a scale.
“What’s this?” Irene asks “A bow?”
“Not a bow…” Willie answers thoughtfully “It recalls something else to me, I’ve already seen similar objects. It’s a zither…”
“What the hell is a zither?”
“A musical instrument.”
“Are you kidding me? What is it doing here?”
“I don’t know… maybe a long time ago someone came here to play music.”
Willie is longing with all himself to take the zither with him, to watch it, and touch it, until he has learned everything about its secrets. But Irene takes a different decision, driven by the common sense typical of her own nature, and of her being a member of the city hall council:
“Whatever it is, it belongs to the town and its citizens. I will keep it into the archives of the city hall… and I will ask the archeological authorities to evaluate it.”