At home, I bore easily without something to do, read, or watch. I do look out the window at the garden or the street, but not for long. This is what happens most places I have been. Lake Como is different. I have yet to tire of staring at the lake and surrounding mountains. Without moving, the view changes with with time of day, weather, and activity on the lake or in the sky. Currents and wind constantly change the appearance of the water surface and light alters the color. No two cloud formations ever look similar and cast changing shadows on the ground below.
At the moment, for example, a man paddles by standing on a surf board with his dog pointing the way on the front--a new sight. I turn my head and spot another man on a board, but with two black dogs lying at his feet. The lake offers no waves for surfing, so humans have found other uses for surf boards. I have seen kite boarders, for wind is often strong enough to push a sail boat or lift a man with a board attached to his feet.
Occasionally, I stare at towns and houses across the lake and wonder about their history and occupants. Lights high on the mountain cause me to think about the arduous drive or climb to reach such dwellings. And, why live there or what does one do for work?
Today, no sailboats crowd the lake, which seems strange. Saturday in July should be a day of leisure even for those without vacation. During the week, small boats often fill the view, so why not today? The wind is calm, but that has never stop ardent sailors.
I expected this region to be crowded in summer, because all other holiday regions in Europe fill with hordes from the north. Lack of large hotels and campgrounds keeps masses away, and many private houses remain empty, waiting for owners that traditionally take off the month of August. Italy, like France, still clings to the old ways, so I expect a few more people next month. But, I hear that crowds never plague Lake Como, which adds to the appeal.
Until today, we had enjoyed the relative calm of having no neighbors in the few surrounding houses. Some are owned by Germans, who must live the state just now receiving vacation. (Vacations are staggered by state to prevent all clogging the highways on the same weekend, as happens in other countries.) We hear voices through the vegetation or from the lake below the house. This not disturbing, but does make the place less tranquil. I can still stare at the view with the added sound effects.
I turn my head and look down the lake towards Belaggio, where the lake splits in two legs. White, puffy clouds fill blue sky over the lake. Clouds increase moving north. If I turn to the other direction and look towards the Swiss Alps, dark clouds cover the sky and threaten rain. Across the lake. A gentle rain begins to fall on the roof of the terrace, so I gaze through rain drops at the view at sun shining on the opposite shore. A stray ray of sunlight beams on one town, as if illuminating its significance in the grand scheme of things. Who knows what that might be?
What looks like a searchlight beam is merely sunlight reflected off a window on the opposite shore.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.