The summer of hope

Publish date 30-08-2020

by Gian Mario Ricciardi

It is the summer of renunciations, of resistance, of solidarity. Gleaning is beautiful among the many fruits that the cursed virus is making bloom around us. It brought us a leg-shaking fear, suspicion, contagion. Now the mask, often the gloves, the social distancing imposes us. We queue everywhere, in silence, with patience. We no longer know what it is to enter a shop in freedom, stop for a chat, sit on a bench. We go to the mountains, if possible alone. We carry food with us like a hundred years ago.

At the sea we move like automatons landed, by mistake, on the moon where there is no gravity and we fly meters away: backward by at least half a century. On trams, buses and subways, we walk as involuntary protagonists of a biological war: one place yes, the other no. And then, at the stops, off, immediately home in search of a hypothetical "antivirus shelter". Sociality is destroyed, the gestures changed, the looks hallucinated. Volunteering has also been reduced to crumbs by spaces, gloves, masks and distances.

It is the summer of resistance. We can do it, of course, after a cloud of pain, of the dead, of the sick has swept away a world that no longer exists. And every minute, the government and regions are still overwhelmed by other alarms and "red zones". For very long weeks we walked "the other way around" because in our days everything was canceled, the agenda, the work, the fun, the sense of invulnerability. All.

We resist in our silent churches found, without hugs, with those rules that clash with the warmth and depth of faith. Many do it with eyes wet with tears after having greeted from afar, or ideally, fathers, mothers, grandparents, friends. Others do it thanks to the fantasy of mercy that our communities have transformed into encounters with the children abandoned by the state to their fate until September with the “summer boys” cut down, the oratories with muzzles, the schools closed.

But, after all the evil that the virus is unloading on the world, there is a dawn beyond the dark, a renewed solidarity. It is true that danger, fear, fear has advised many to shut up at home, in silence. But it is also true that the "heart of Italy", beyond the now daily controversies that evaporate in the evening, is causing a new impetus of authenticity and solidarity.

We have seen entire neighborhoods and towns mobilizing to collect food, aid, expenses and not just suspended coffee, donated masks, offers. It was and is a silent but continuous momentum. And it is the right way to try to survive and in part to start living again even if it is a "stop and go" that none of us would ever have imagined: certainly doctors, nurses, technicians, cleaners in hospitals, priests who have paid for their actions too often with their lives; but also large companies and small businesses, large and small traders who have donated to others in every part of Italy. It is the "big heart" that is reborn and relaunched.

It helps us to resist even when the anguish of the heart squeezes us in the throat because one of us did not make it and goes away, alone, without the grateful eyes of those who lived with him; even when quarantines forcibly divide fathers from children and vice versa; even when, especially in the evening, the fear we all have risks turning into panic; even when the great test that we are all experiencing, and a storm of images from all over Italy and the world, seems to want to undermine hope. It won't affect it!

Gian Mario Ricciardi
NP June / july 2020

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