Almost every day I take a picture of this beautiful farm that sits

across the Cassia – the main road-  from where we live. I love how it majestically sits there on top of the hill changing color every few weeks. Fresh, bright green to golden to pale wheat. Last week on the 4th of July it looked like this

the wheat tall and strong, ready to be harvested. It’s where Ani and I walked early one morning at 5 when we admired the jumping deer and found fresh footprints of rooting animals. 

Today we went to the Marina an hour and a half from here to go swimming at the beach and meet up with Clara and Elena, our sisters.  As we came back over Montalcino we saw huge billows of black smoke in the distance. As soon as I saw it I could tell it was in our valley.  My friend said no, it must be some factory releasing fumes.  I had a feeling that this was not so – that indeed it was a huge fire. Always drama, she said. 

When we passed San Quirico, four miles from the house,  people were lined along the street in small pockets. Here and there they leaned over the short railings, reeling a bit as if unsure where they were. Cars went by slowly as if in a daze or lost. And then I knew it was close to us. 

Huge pillows of black smoke and fire to the east of the Cassia and the closer we got to our Casale the thicker the traffic got and I called the house. Yes, there was a fire across the road and the fire department had been called in Montalcino. Even though we were a quarter mile from home the dread got the better of me.  Rather than stay in the long que of cars, boxed in like a fish,  I turned the car around and back to San Quirico till we could figure out what happened.

It’s still burning on the other side of the hill but seems to be under control now. I feel terrible for the farmers of that land. The wheat was heavy and ready to cut this week. They lost their whole harvest.