Sunday, July 20, 2008

River Flowing Peacefully

I have been traveling for six months now, and today I wondered, where am I? Of course I know that I am in Florence, Italy, but there is a part of my mind that blurs places so that, put simply, I sense I am alive in the matrix of the earth, entirely different than a specific locale invented by man. Furthermore, my sense that time is a logical sequence of events, dissolves, so I lose track of the days and hours . . . it is all a river flowing peacefully—I do not hurry it or slow it, only drift in it and observe the changing elements.
After leaving my daughter and her friend in Brindisi to catch a ferry to Greece, I drove to Bari and reunited with friends. Immediately they absorbed me into the life of southern Italy. We ate octopus and watermelon, strolled through streets of polished white stone, and felt the welcome relief of “mistral” winds that blew away some of the summer heat. Italians are social creatures almost to the extreme, so they always act in groups and if they perceive you are alone, they want to welcome you. I spoke with Lucia about this and she acknowledged that Americans are different and can sometimes be uncomfortable with the attention, preferring their independence.
On the way back to Florence, I stopped for a night in Urbino. It is a World Heritage Site and Lucia had suggested it as a place where I could get a real sense of historical Italy. It is a stone city built on a hilltop. I found it enthralling and have included a picture here on my blog.
Friday I returned to Florence and had my temporary tooth waiting at the dental office. For the next week, I am living in a quiet apartment, on a street with many convenient shops, close to the Arno River and near Piazza Santa Maria Novella.
The mistral winds of imagination take me to Berlin next Sunday.

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