Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A city's memory through the wind. In the words of Italo Calvino

Portsmouth flood. From

Too much has been said about cities and memories. But to relate them to weather's memories, it's not common. Though, I'm always missing my beautiful Buenos Aires and every time I think of it, I remember terrible cold and hot days, huge storms and even snow there was a few years ago.
This story by Italo Calvino, author of the great book The Invisible Cities made me think about it. Its name is Wind in a City, from the book Dark Numbers. Here, my favorite part, enjoy!:

Storm in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, 2010. Posted by Sebastián López Sánchez.

Something, but I couldn’t understand what. People walking along level streets as if they were going uphill or down, lips and nostrils twitching like gills, then houses and doors in flight and the street corners sharper than usual. It was the wind: later on I realized.
Turin is a windless city. The streets are canals of motionless air fading into infinity like screaming sirens: motionless air, glassy with frost or soft with haze, stirred only by the trams skimming by on their rails. For months I forget there is such a thing as wind; all that’s left is a vague need.
But all it takes is for a gust rising from the bottom of a street one day, rising and coming to meet me, and I remember my windblown village beside the sea, the houses ranged above and below each other, and the wind in the middle going up and down, and streets of steps and cobbles, and slashes of blue windy sky above the alleyways. And home with the shutters banging, the palm trees groaning at the windows, and my father’s voice shouting on the hilltop.
I’m like that, a wind man, who needs friction and headway when he’s walking, needs suddenly to shout and bite the air when he’s speaking. When the wind lifts in town, spreading from suburb to suburb in tongues of colourless flame, the town opens up before me like a book, it’s as though I could recognize everybody I see, I feel like yelling, ‘Hey there!’ to the girls, the cyclists, like shouting out what I’m thinking, waving my hands.

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