A fresh Adriatic breeze is beginning to blow away the blistering August heat as the clock reaches the 20:00 hour. Now is the time to walk...now that the family doggie can enjoy a stretch away from the shaded yard; now that we can breathe in the aroma of the surrounding fields, without fighting for breath in the humid air.
Rich red clay dirt packs the path as we meander through olive groves… groves which have produced Istrian olive oil for centuries. Aromatic oil once shipped to the courts of Venice and beyond. Oil processed by the families who have worked this land for generations .
I have been here before, in these same fields with this same family doggie, Floki. He leads the way, guiding us from olive groves to a row of fig trees laden with ripe sweet fruit. Bozena reaches into the branches, plucking 4 or 5 sticky figs, handing them to me as a gift. We have found our after dinner dessert.
A small grape vineyard, un-attended, overgrown with grasses, thick at the base of each tiny tree, still survives..green leaves fluttering in the afternoon breeze. Owners have been near; abandoned plastic chairs mark the end of the first two rows...a tired wooden table sits cockeyed … they have been here.
Crossing over a narrow working road, a lavender field beckons.
“ Come, run your fingers through my tiny leaves. I may not be in bloom, yet I am still deeply fragrant. Take the memory of me home with you”
Lavender mounds in perfectly sculpted rows offer tranquility to the senses.
We turn to the path on the right, greeting a local farmer, stringing caution tape along the edge of his field. A deterrent to birds? Other wild animals...I am intrigued.
“ Dobro vecer...Kako ste?” Good evening...how are you? Bozena knows this man who smiles warmly offering us the chance to pick whatever fruit we might like from his trees. More figs for the evening meal; tiny sweet blackberries the size of a pinky fingernail are gathered into my open palms.
“ Hvala! Dovidjenja “ Thank you- Goodbye... Bozena waves a thank you. I tilt my head and smile warmly, hands laden with gifts.
His eyes sparkle with the love of this land.
Flocki leads us home through the red Istrian clay