As in many villages, in the countryside or in the mountain areas, Topolò experiences every year a repetitive phenomenon: the arrival of summer passengers/residents - habitual or occasional - for a resting and refreshing time. Houses open their doors and voices are spreading around the paths and squares, designing a complete new acoustic of the place.
gardens and open doors
At the same time - or actually a bit before - also plants and every kind of vegetation wake up: gardens are organized for the production of vegetables (especially zucchini and tomatoes 🍅) and the decespugliatore (grass trimmer) starts to resonate in the valley.
I like to think that somehow these two phenomena are related and in a dialogue between each other: The social renaissance of a village and the plant awakening are filling up the silence of a place, defining a specific seasonal setting in which to experience the village. It is the easy season… the warm and gossip time, with the lightness of the summer and the beauty of the landscape - but also a lot of wild plants to control and social engagement to perform 🏝️.
A note is needed before going on with this speculation: with “summer” I mean the time which starts when we stop to make fire in our stoves and finishes with the rainy season, which brings back leaves, salamanders and chestnuts on the paths, improved by a specific smell of wet wood. Our summers are therefore quite long and for sure they are a revolution in our daily life for which I always need to prepare myself!
bees and musicians
This year the beginning of summer was accompanied by a new presence in the village which revolutionised the collective dynamic and spatial orientation. Three beehives 🐝 arrived in the early morning and a charming German beekeeper followed them to guide the Topolò community into this new experience. I was announcing this event like this: in one week I will be able to speak about bees, meaning that I will have the basic beekeeping knowledge and vocabulary. This adventure introduced to me the beekeeper's side of Aljaž’s personality - who became our nerd, tutorial-addicted beekeeper - and a total new dynamic between the permanent and temporary residents.
Three bee houses were installed on the edge of Villa Pihuova garden waiting for some new residents to arrive. I really don’t know how to prove the relation between these two events, but actually, after a long and swinging journey, Tiziana and Thomas arrived to Topolò, as every August, but this year they finally entered their own house and start to make of it a home (precisely as two working bees). So in a few months Villa Pihuova welcomed 30.000 bees, 2 musicians - and a beekeeper.
Becoming aware of this summer revolution of the village, Robida had started to create a support system of infrastructures - don’t worry, only in our mind. Our small and crowded houses brought us to think about other spaces, houses, as possible dorm or living room, gardens or playgrounds, questioning the dynamic between the private and public place - still open for argumentations - looking for some facilities and hospitality capacity. This year, Juljova hiša, on the entrance of Topolò, had a fully booked calendar of passengers coordinated by Ele, and Izba, on top of the village, was finally experiencing a free-styling organization between Cate’s cooking session, international working calls, home schooling and pilates classes 🤸♀️.
donkeys and students
Also, in the arrival of seven donkeys 🦓, passing by the village guided by an enthusiastic group of kids on a week-long walk through the valley, I’d like to see an anticipation in the evolution of the group dynamic of the village. Of course, since I also participated in the walk I was waiting for this moment already for some time and preparing myself for a close encounter with these sweet and strong animals, but I was surprised to observe the reaction of the Topolò community. At the end of a long rainy day we arrived to Topolò looking for some rest and a roof for the night. Everything was there waiting for us: entering the village everyone was welcoming and following the donkeys through the village up to the church as an almost orchestrated caravan. Probably this is my personal impression of the moment, amplified by the long journey, but anyway ... I found myself in an unusual condition of being hosted in my home and to be able to appreciate these simple gestures that a community can offer, spontaneously and vary carefully.
Following my theory, this was only a preparation for the following week, when our summer school brought up to Topolò 15 new temporary residents to explore and activate the village, as a house, as their own temporary home.
I am still struggling to make sense of this theory … Can you see the point?
Let's see if I can find (or force) some other examples to develop this theory. Summer is still on, even if we started to fill our cellars with wood and Vida is learning to bake bread, for a cozy silent winter.
Any feedback to the theory is welcome :-) xoxo