Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Days of the Blackbird - I Giorni della Merla

Blackbird complaining
Monday. Feeling sleepy. "Ti piacerebbe che fosse venerdi'!" (You wish it was Friday!) my mother would say. Another day started like this: oh no, it's Monday, and it is almost 11 am. William's cheeks are no longer hot like fire - the poor guy has been sick for almost a week and my foot has not recovered as fast as I would have liked - There is nothing to eat in the fridge. Let's get out of here!, I said like a volcano erupting. Come on Tronk, where are your shoes? Sono qui mamma. (There are here mom)

We managed to share a pleasant hot buffet at an Asian restaurant not far from where we live, although I must say it turned out that Tronk enjoyed spitting most of it in the floor. I don't envy the guy who had to clean the mess. Then Tronk asked for two things, two things without which he never falls asleep: a binky and his white muslin blanket (the one we used to swaddle him). It has become his security blanket. I put him in the stroller and covered him with his warm sleep sac. I immediately saw his eyes wobbling, as if I had put him under the effect of a powerful sleeping pill. Sooner than expected  he was knocked out. My original plan of taking him to the local kids playground was out the window. I was looking for anywhere to take Tronk to. I decided to set my mark on Walegreens (another five blocks). By the time I got to Walegreens,  I could hardly feel my hands and my foot was still attached to my leg but it had become like a dead rat. William had no intention of waking up. If I could have gone three more blocks I could have taken him to Isis Maternity, where they have a small indoor children's playspace. The sort of place where Tronk would have been able to do a bit of walking, socializing and playing and I would have had the luxury of browsing through nice expensive clothes without too many interruptions.

Didn't happen. "You stop here, find a place where to rest and wait until Tronk wakes up.", said my foot with a rather authoritative tone. Ok. 

Starbucks was too far. I went inside the closest cafe' at the local cinema. For the Italian readers, this is a place with a bar which only sells ice cream topped with candies, blue Italian ice in winter and popcorn topped with liquid butter - Don't ask me why but here in the US these are considered treats. Not the sort of thing I was dying for yesterday. A real coffee? Not quite. Dirty water topped with milk foam was the best I could get there. I settled with cranberry juice, one of the few drinks I could have there which I knew would not make me feel as if they were giving me a sugar IV. I sat at one of the tables in the empty cafe' of the cinema and watched Tronk sleep while I was taking small sips of cranberry juice. Unfortunately, I didn't have a book to read.

Hey, who do you think you are? Sleeping Beauty?
3:10 pm. Tronk knocked out
3:40 pm. Tronk still sleeping. Only me in the cafe'
4:15 pm. Not the slightest move in the stroller. Still only me at the cafe'
4:30 pm. Wish I had purchased a ticket to watch a movie! 

He eventually woke up when I noisily took him to the bathroom, probably on purpose to wake him up. I was expecting to see a very happy boy after such a long nap but no. Tronk was in rage. John came to pick us up and, with his help, I took Tronk home as soon as I could. Once home, Tronk was happy.

Nevertheless, I was so exhausted and couldn't accept that once again I started the day with good intentions but in the end I found myself stuck in a rather unattractive place, this time in a movie theater without being able to see a movie. What a day to start the week. I can't even blame it on the snow as this year we hardly got any. This reminded me that in Italy the last three days of January are called "i giorni della merla" (the blackbird's days). It is that time of the year when all I want is to emerge from the dark tunnel of winter to  see some light...

Long, long ago in Milan there was a very hard winter. The snow was falling from the sky and covered the whole city, the streets and gardens. Under the water spout of a building at the station Porta Nuova was the nest of a family of blackbirds, which at that time had feathers white as snow. There was mommy blackbird, daddy blackbird and three baby blackbirds, who were born after the summer.
The little family suffered from the cold and struggled to find breadcrumbs to eat, as the few crumbs that had fallen from the tables of men were immediately covered with snow.
After a few days daddy blackbird made ​​a decision and told his wife: "Here there is nothing to eat, if this continues we will all die of hunger and cold. I have an idea, I will help you move the nest on the roof of the building, close to the chimney of the fireplace, so while waiting form my return you will not be cold. I'll leave and will go look for food in the places where the snow has not yet arrived."
And so he did: the nest was placed near the  chimney  and  daddy blackbird left. Mommy blackbird  and her baby blackbirds were all day in the nest, warming each other and also absorbing the smoke from the chimney all day long.
After three days daddy blackbird  came home and almost was not able to recognize his family! The black smoke coming out the chimney was painted black all the feathers of birds!
Fortunately, from that day on the winter became less rigid and the blackbirds were able to find enough food to get to spring.
From that day, however, all blackbirds are born with black feathers, and to remember the family of blackbirds whites become blacks, the last three days of January are called "Three Days of the blackbird."

I am glad there are over.

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