Markets, here and in Italy, have long lifted me out of any mood that could vaguely be considered blue. Perhaps it’s the colors. Or the chatter. Or the fact that you have to come “out” of yourself and conduct transactions in a personal fashion, even if you’re not fluent in the language. Or the shared state of mind: everyone seems happier.
Perhaps the contentment is a reaction to the presence of dirt clinging to roots, the absence of wax and other cosmetic treatments to beautify the already beautiful. The human scale. The tight-knit triangular relationship between you, the person selling the rhubarb and the rhubarb itself. The nod. The handshake. The cheese-monger who compliments the color of your eyes. The French lesson on the fly. The relationships, even outlined as they are by a commercial transaction, that will ripen season in, season out. Year in, year out. Or maybe it’s coming home with your full bag, unloading its contents into your kitchen, knowing that the happiness you just bought by the bunch, kilo, or bagful will nourish your mood for days to come.