Cittiglio’s Waterfalls

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I know it is too long that I do not write, way too long. Two months in Italy to recharge the batteries. Two months of holidays, food, friends, relatives, love, sighs, laughter, sports, sea, faces, talks and even a few teardrops. Two months of places visited.

Many things have happened to me: intense, unexpected and in the middle of a pile of shit (excuse me for the French), I felt extremely alive, happy and loved. It is true that life is not programmed, there are no Excel files with times and dates, events, phrases, people to put in a column. Life is more like a moving ocean, a giant blender, a summer storm. And this year I decided to close the umbrella and throw myself under the storm, let me soak and move from the wind, that living in defense is too tiring.

You will say: “what the hell has this to do with the waterfalls?”

Yet it does, because last year I would never have gone alone to the falls, this year I would go climbing Everest alone. No more talk and let’s go straight to the point.

I slept in my parent’s caravan at the lake and at night a storm of those tough trees fells, keeping me awake but what matters is that refreshes the air that actually was too torrid, also for me being used to the Asian weather.

I wake up sparkling. Perfect weather for the lake tour. I get dressed, I fix the saddle of my father’s mountain bike, I fill the water bottle, I put the helmet … for God sake, I did not bring the Nikes. I packed two pairs of heeled shoes and forgot the Nikes. But what did I plan to do? Where did I think I was going? What’s happening to me? You should look in the mirror for thirty minutes each morning and remember who you are before leaving home, doing things, making decisions, talking, stuffing heeled shoes in travel bags.

I steal my mother’s shoes, tight, uncomfortable and even ugly (that aesthetics wants her part while riding sweaty) but I do not expect to meet Patrick Dempsey in Comabbio.

I start, I ride, I sweat. I stop to take some pictures. This 12-kilometer ride is really relaxing with phenomenal views point. But it’s not enough for me. I’m dissatisfied. Today I have energy to spend, ghosts to leave behind, challenges to be overcome. My friend Max suggests me to go to the waterfalls:

Max: “take the path of the falls”
Me: “how do I take it?”
Max: “how do I take what? You’ll know how to take it” emoji with the tongue.
Me: “animal”
Max: “idiot”
Me: “have I to walk a lot to get there?”
Max: “not so much, but is rocky. But you arrive and you throw yourself under the waterfall”
Me: “then I’ll go” emoji with glasses.
Max: “super!!!!!”
Me: “Should I wear swimsuit?”
Max “yes, but water is frozen”
Me: “Fuck. I don’t want go in”
Max “but it is very hot, you can do it!”
Me: “only feet then”
Max: “CHRIST!! Go inside! You’re all Zen, you do not feel cold! “
Me: “Zen my ass! I feel cold even in the pool”
Max: “you are a dog”
I would say that the rest of the chat does not matter.

I realize I do not have a backpack where to put the towel and water bottle. I brought the handbags, necklaces, shoes with heels and not the walking backpack. God will lighten me if I make the mistake of thinking of being a fashion woman again instead of myself.
I go to my friend Claudia, who is not fashionable, very sporty, a wonderful woman and a caravan neighbor:

Me: “Cloddy do you have a backpack?”
Claudia: “mmmmhhh I brought everything home … try to see if this pink of my daughter suits you …”
Me: “Perfect. Doesn’t her mind?”
Claudia: “Not at all! Wait till I get out the little stuffed bear hanging from the handle”
Me: “Yes, maybe I’ll lose it and it’ll be bad”
Claudia: “But not for that! Maybe you get trapped somewhere”
Me: “But no! I’m just going to walk in the mountains, nothing dangerous!”
Claudia: “Yes and I believe it … who knows what new extreme sport you are going to do … alone … be careful. I do not know how you do it. But do you have a phone? Does anyone know where you’re going?”
Me: “Ahahah Claudia stay cool, I just go for a walk”
Claudia: “Yes, well, be careful”

I put everything I may need in the Hello Kitty backpack that with my shitty shoes it completes my amazing outfit and finally I am ready to leave. Finding Cittiglio with the GPS is simple. Get to the first waterfall even more. The place is a fairytale, there are families with dogs and children slumped on the rocks to have a snack, old people with their feet soaking and a lot of Germans. The water is frozen, Max was right, I came up to half my thighs and then I can’t do it, Zen my ass, I told him. I would love to go to the second waterfall but I cannot find the starting path.

I see a young boy perched on a rock, he’s wearing a red swimsuit, long sideburns and handlebar moustache, he looks like detective Poirot, inspires me with confidence and sympathy:
Me: “Sorry, can you tell me where is the starting path to go up to the second waterfall?” I smile.
Poirot: “Excuse me, Ma’am, but it’s really a challenging climb …” he looks at my shoes and my backpack.

Ma’am???? M A D A M ????

Me: “Listen Poirot, I asked you where it is, not HOW it is” I do not smile anymore.
Poirot: “Eh, sorry Ma’am, it starts from there, in the middle of the bushes … but, are you going alone?”
Me: “Thank you. No, no, it’s me and my 15 imaginary friends” I smile again.

I told Max that today I don’t feel Zen.

I widen the brambles and find the path, the climb is really steep, I have to climb on the rocks, I scratch my legs with the nettles and I slip continuously. I arrive at a point where I have to climb holding myself on a rope. I begin to think that Poirot was right, alone is not really an easy walk. The real problem is that in the woods the storm of last night has broken up a lot of trees that are to be climbed, the path is narrow, wet, slippery with brambles on one side and the precipice on the other. I slide a couple of times, I cling to stinging plants, puffs.

After a while I find the second rope. I’m intent on climbing the rock when I see him! Hidden in the bushes there is a serial killer. The sly man stands still. It might seem like a guy intent to poop, but I’m not fooled.  I’m still hanging on the rope for a minute considering the situation. Then the stroke of genius. I reach out with a hand to the bush leaving the grip and risking to fall down and smash myself in the middle of the rocks, pick up a big branch and throw it to him.

Then thinking back, if he was a guy intent to poop in the fresh air, it’s not nice to be hit on the head by a branch thrown by a lady with shitty shoes and Hello Kitty backpack, if he was a serial killer, the fight for sure would make him excited. Lucky me – it was a pile of woods. Thank you for your understanding and empathy, I only ask you not to comment on the fact, I already know it from myself…

I keep with the trek, I cling with the backpack in the brambles and I laugh, I laugh a lot, I cannot untangle myself and I think of the little stuffed bear and Claudia and I almost cry with laughter. I am trapped. I think I cannot die here alone, that I will be found in the middle of the rocks in three days with these horrible shitty shoes and a pink backpack, I do not even wear a nice underwear. In the silence I finally hear the sound of water, I’m almost there, I just have to give two rips with my shoulders without slipping and without letting go of the rope and I am almost there … Hurray. Free.

I’m here alone, off my shoes, off my backpack, off my clothes. I meditate in this wonderful place. I make peace with the ghosts, with the serial killer and with Poirot.
Inhale and exhale. And I dive. Because in the end I am really Zen.



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