Whenever I drive up the coast from LA to San Francisco and happen to see colonies of elephant seals laying on the rocks and roaring to the ocean, I always recite in my mind a passage of “America Amara” (🇮🇹 trad: “bitter America”), a book written in the ‘30s by Italian intellectual Emilio Cecchi, who moved to the US for a year to teach Italian Literature in Berkeley.
As he was observing these same landscapes, he stoped to describe:
“the rust and straw-yellow of the stretches of stubble; the white of the small houses, and the tufts of needle shaped leaves that tinkle subtly like glass. On the pebbles on the shore, blue mother-of-pearl valves catch the first glimmers of moon. And amid the thunders of the tide, you can hear the braying of seals that go to sleep on the rocks, and the bell of the Catholic mission”.
What a masterful way to describe all the sensations one feels observing this magnificent scenery! 😍
👉🇮🇹 Here’s the original Italian passage, for those who can read it:
“ […] la ruggine e il paglierino delle distese di stoppie; le casette bianche, i ciuffi d’aghi [che] tintinnano sottilmente come vetro. Sui ciottoli della riva, valve di madreperla turchina captano il primo barlume lunare. E fra i tuoni della marea, s’ode il raglio delle foche che vanno a dormire sugli scogli, e la campana della missione cattolica”.