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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Eden was just like this.*

Covasinț, Județ Arad, Banat, Romania
21 October 2012. 05:31 A.M.

 I am in the home of Sebastian and Ileana Fera.  Seba is 75, and Ileana 68.  They are the parents of Mihaela (Miki) Fera DeMaggio and of Roxana Fera, both now living in New Hampshire, and the grandparents of Elena, Cayou, and Maria DeMaggio.  We met at our home in Campton almost a year ago, and now I am visiting their home.

Theirs is a wonderful home. 

On a hill some 18 Km to the northeast of Arad is Comuna Covasinț, and in it a village of the same name.  At the town hall (Primeria) in Covasinț, at about 1:20 PM yesterday, I met up with Ileana, who came down from their house in their white Dacia 1310 to pick me up.  I had driven that morning from Cluj in Alexandra Muțiu’s Renault Clio.  Ileana told me we would park it in the village at the home of their friends, and I should follow her there.  I was reluctant to leave a borrowed car anywhere, but I followed her to the spot.  Within the solidly gated yard of this retired teacher and his wife, I adjudged Clio to be quite safe, so I took my rucksack and computer case, loaded them and the flowers and wine I’d bought for the Feras into the trunk of the Dacia, and got in its front passenger seat.

Ileana’s route home soon convinced me of the wisdom of her decision to park my borrowed car in town.  We went to her house through a forest on a jeep road full of rocks and mud puddles, then climbed a steep hill to their gate.  Seba opened the gate, and after six or seven clutch-burning tries, Ileana succeeded in backing the Dacia up the steep roadbank and into its place in their yard, beneath a sheet of heavy once-clear plastic, suspended from trees, that protected it from the sun and rare rain.
Speaking of rain, this house, built largely by Sebastian years ago while Ileana covered his sports classes at Sibiu, is equipped with a 10,000 liter rain-water collection tank beneath the porch, which provides water for washing and bathing.  Brilliant.  Until this year, there has been no well, but now that the Feras have retired here and made this their home, a well of some 200 m depth has been drilled at the back of the property, and this next week its water will be tested by the state for purity.

I cannot well-express the efficiency and comfort of this place.  I can only say that I understand the Feras' peace here, and their love of it.  Shirl and I felt the same for our first home in New Hampshire, which we lived in when first married, and which served as a second home for our eight years in Westborough, Massachusetts, while I was teaching at Boston University.  This house feels similar.  It is simple, yet well-equipped.  It is quiet, the nights are jet black, the air is clean, the surroundings natural.  Deer and wild boar populate the adjacent woods, and sheep graze in the nearby fields.  Wild berries of many species provide vitamin-rich snacks as one walks the hills, and in the yard is a garden of vegetables and fruit trees that emulates Eden.
When I arrived, the three of us sat in the garden at a much-used table, and enjoyed a lunch of some ten dishes, most made from home-grown ingredients, including breaded mushrooms (ciuperci pane), cooked as one sizzles a schnitzel (snițel), home-made pickles (castraveț muraț), chicken thighs stewed with red bell peppers and onions (pulpa de pui cu arde rosu dulce și ceapa), etc., etc.  It was marvelous.  After a nap and a walk on the hill, all we needed for supper was the delicious honey-sweetened cake Ileana had baked, and a cup of tea made from the flowers and leaves of their garden.

* From the title of a song by Harry Belafonte.

1 comment:

  1. :)
    Thanks for another beautiful Romanian story


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