The only thing ‘normal’ in Vernazza these days is the train schedule. She is a town without her people. Even more so now, as this afternoon all (volunteers and emergency crews) were evacuated due to heavy rains.
Imagine Vernazza without a single soul in it. If she were a person I’d say she’s lonely. Feeling abandoned. And I often think of her this way. Like a living being. She has a life, a soul, a vibrance, a presence like no other place I’ve been. I find myself feeling sorry for her a lot of the time. Is this strange? Somehow I don’t think I’m alone in my feelings.
She has the company of the cats and ducks now. Has she wondered where we all went and why? Would she have wanted us to leave to keep us out of harm? Does she know how much we all want to return to her and help return her to what she once was? Does she know how loved she is?
She is without her family and will continue to be until she is well enough to accept us back. Yes, the weather will let up and the volunteers and emergency crews will return. But where are the children that ran her streets? The men and women who sat her benches, walked her passageways, took her photos and marveled in her beauty? When will they return to her?
The way back to her is complicated and costly. Would she understand if we couldn’t afford to fix her? Would she be forgiving if we weren’t able to return?
If I could talk to her I would tell her we are doing our best. I would tell her there are people all around the world thinking of her, wishing her well and supporting her recovery. I would tell her that she is loved and that we will not give up on her.
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” Buddist saying
The estimated cost to repair Vernazza to the point where she will be safe enough for her residents to return is 50 million euro. Vernazza is still without gas and drinking water, continually under a state of emergency and as of today evacuated of volunteers and emergency crews. The situation is bleak but not impossible. Together we can make her healthy again. Together we make the difference.
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