Il dolce far niente. How could I have come so far in life and not heard such old Italian wisdom?
I have "the Milanese" to thank for enlightening me and sharing their common sense. Over the past few days we've had the pleasure of two delightful travellers from Italy staying at our place as part of the wwoofer program. Willing workers on organic farms is an international association that links up hosts with travellers who work for food and lodgings. It's an inspired program, and when we occasionally welcome people into our home, not only do a lot of chores in the garden get ticked off, but we get the added bonus of learning so much from our visitors. It's a mutual exchange of ideas, culture and inspiration.
For me, it's been such a pleasure to have good eaters to cook for everyday. And while I hope our Milanese guests might have learnt a little about gardening, it's me who has been grateful for the exposure to their Italian ways. Sharing buonissimo recipes, sitting down to proper meals every day, tips on serving pasta, arguments about the pope, loud joyous singing and the price of an espresso in Milan. Even just hearing those dulcet Italian conversations in the garden has almost felt like a holiday.
The garden is looking bellisimo and I've learnt like new words like "scarpetta" a term for mopping up the juices from the bottom of the pan with bread. I feel much less embarrassed by this greedy habit knowing that there is an actual word for it in Italian.
But really, it's il dolce far niente, that has captured my imagination. The sweetness of doing nothing. It's a lesson I could do well to learn. After a hard day's work, unplug, switch off, finish the chores, stop planning, stop thinking. To sit and be in the company of the ones you love. Why don't we do that? Everyday? What don't we value the importance of doing nothing, instead we seem to value busyness?
To enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing. Il Dolce Far Niente. I'm going to write it on the wall as a reminder to myself to make time for a little pleasant idleness everyday.
Why don't you enjoy doing a little nothing too?