… when I look at the river from my kitchen chair. How the water, never fixed in color, flows around the corner. Lately, people have been laying out colorful fluffy towels on the freshly mowed lawn on the shore, setting out folding chairs with striped covers and picnic baskets, lifting their glasses hopefully and reading books for hours. The other day, a young man sat there with a guitar in his lap. People put on straw hats, pull out sunscreens, laugh, are amused or fall asleep until the sun is gone. None of this would be worth mentioning, I told them in Zurich or Genoa. But at 1720 meters above sea level?
Every now and then a brave person ventures into the water, then a heroine, to jump right back out or to linger. Some swim against the current, others cool their bodies after a run. And in addition, all the people who watch, stroll, stop, go on. As if they were on the Riviera. Small, wild children with colorful helmets whistle by, on tricycles with horns. Then come the dogs, noisy and phlegmatic ones, one of them refuses to go any further. I want to be carried, man! Of course. Last year, an elegant woman led one of these precious, ocelot-like cats past on a collar - in a way that begged for admission. But: Nobody has to pay for spectacle and alpine-Mediterranean lightness.
How many more and different things could be said about a single section of the river that gave its name to the valley and which I see from the kitchen chair! For example, about the "Bauncha", the historically restored, covered wash jetty next to the fountain and bench. He winks at the bathers on the shore and the strollers and says, yes, exactly, the social life and the sexiness of the village belongs right here, you've got it. The bright yellow canary on the house wall at the entrance to via San Gian, not far from the Bauncha and the Coop, the eternally cheeky "canarin" (with emphasis on the "i", as if it were his song), a sgraffito by the artist and co-founder of the Upper Engadine Cultural Archive, Giuliano Pedretti, who died in January 2012, also thinks so.
And not only that. The funny bird points to all the artists, but especially to the Ruma(u)ntsch-speaking ones, who undauntedly whistle their song in village and valley - and especially to the Pedretti family who live here, to Giuliano's father, the
important painter Turo, his sister-in-law Erica, writer and artist of distinction, and to her husband, Giuliano's brother, Gian, who is also a painter.
Giuliano Pedretti said that years ago a gentleman from Genoa used to go in and out of via San Gian, accompanied by a canary that he always brought with him from his hometown. That is why not only a canary is emblazoned on the façade, but also in honor of Genoa, the Superba, dolphins. But how did the bird get this color?
In the cultural archives of the Upper Engadine there are illustrations by Giuliano that he made for the book of stories entitled "Il canarin" by the dazzling writer Artur Caflisch from Zuoz. Among them there is no canary, but look at the yellow of the volume title! Years later, a cheeky little bird in this exact color is emblazoned above a window, as if the word had become flesh and feather.
(and that we're all weird birds), but points out beyond: it reminds us of how many people have found inspiration in this area, and that we'd be lost in any region without art and literature.
Well, good, we'd still have the kids in colorful helmets whistling by on tricycles with horns blaring.
Autorin: Romana Ganzoni