“Maddalena strode down the hill to the valley, feeling every step in her knees. Since turning fifty-three, she occasionally had to rub warm olive oil into her joints. She was inwardly cursing having to kneel to weed the immature poppy plants among the sugar beets when she caught sight of an abandoned hillside covered with poppies in full bloom. Her steps slowed, the flowers holding her gaze, a sea of red and green rippling in the spring breeze. She’d never considered them beautiful before. There seemed to be so many, thousands upon thousands, and yet it if each one represented a person lost in the war, the number didn’t come even close.” From, Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar.
(Poppy field near Monticchio in Abruzzo.
Took this when I was staying at the family house in nearby Fossa in 2005.)