From all the years I spent in Wabash and all the encounters I had with a one Mrs. Diane Miller, there are three lessons she taught me that stuck. The first was the Basic Aid Training (or BAT) class she conducted to empower us to save the day if a minor cut or choking incident occurred. The second was the special math class she guest-taught in elementary school where she embedded in my mind the concept of recipricals by throwing her head between her legs, peering at the class upside-down and saying "reCIPricalsssss" in a delightful, high-pitched manner. The third was an observation by her wise mind of the wind, the leaves, and the chance of an approaching storm. When the wind blows the trees and allows you to see both sides of the leaf, exposing simultaneously the light and dark shades in a flutter, a storm's a-brewin'. It's odd what comes up after ten years of leaving, living, moving, observing. I lay on a dirty patio in the shade of the Tuscan sun, staring at two twin trees leaning to the blows of the warm wind, and I'm thinking...I guess we're not getting any rain.
I like this exercise. I think I'll roll with it.
All the wooden doors and overhangs here at Poggio al Pipi remind me of the historic shops in Lijang, China with their dark wood and jutting pillars, making me think a little dragon-like dog may scurry by.
The small, old rose, dried and alone on the patio reminds me of the elaborate collections kept in Laura Miller's closet: tissues covered in colored chalk from an art demonstration YEARS before, buttons ordered from the American Girl cash-draining catalogue, and bunches of dried roses from post-dance recital congratulatory wishes. Speaking of Laura, this woman with whom I've shared decades of friendship has been playing a reoccurring role in the ensemble of my dreams for the past two months. At such a turning point, it seems I am only an idle witness to my own transformation, since I have no idea what confusions about life my mind has. In its attempt to sort out the changes (Wabash, Indy, Travel), the paths (Italy, SAS, IU, Firenze Firenze Firenze), etc., my dreams combine all my past circles, traumas, friendships, dilemmas, worries, unfinished or unresolved disturbances and leave me utterly spellbound by morning. Renata now applauds me when I can rise before the early hour of 11, but my desires to stay in bed come from my unwavering need to finish the movies I start; I just have to see how this string of dreams unfolds.
May, I was attentive, appreciative, and waiting for the passion to take hold with each glimpse of Italy. June, I was passive, busy, in motion, entertained, and feeling a prolonged sense of impatience to return for the magic of Florence. July, I have been oversensitive, backlogged, exhausted, unaware, at times desperately sad, and self-restricted, unknowingly, from sensing and being a part of my own life dream. As I learned from Auschwitz, it's not even enough to plan your move and anticipate your emotions, but it's also mighty wise to mentally prepare and chew, via ink and paper, on the realities to come.
I am in the process of learning many massive lessons, and all must and will be realized by the end of this lifetime. Finality no longer comes with semester's end.
You wouldn't believe the view I have right now; sundrenched Tuscan hills producing the Frescobaldi wine on your dinner table. And how have I shown myself that this ambiance I long for is truly satiating the forces that seek it?
The trees around me supply the olive oil of our daily diets, pressed yearly by the Florentine family that adopted me.
In what state do I appreciate life the most? When I have time to commit to wandering, wondering and forgetting about other duties? Or maybe when I am pressed for time to fulfill my other necessities and find a short, sweet release in the comforts of longing. Maybe when it is my mission to concentrate on finding the beauty around and translating such force into visual terms, aka art. Through my diet and amount of physical exertion? The absence of maturation to the staling of my imagination? WHEN I'M ON VITAMINS?? I have dug far too deep into my own head to see at the moment.
A walk down the gravel road nearby, a 180• panorama of mountains, and the world has never been this calm. I don't know if I'm beginning to cry because this is what I want, longed for for years, or because I see how the world is supposed to be, knowing the planet's majority will never feel the peace of this moment. It's a green ocean frozen in time, bearing the fundamental diet for thousands of years of civilization.
I'm not sure if I'm a fan of time or not. Like death and taxes, it is a fact that's inevitably certain. They failed to write that in the script for Meet Joe Black.
Florentines are here because they love their city. Florence is here because it was born by man and his love for what I am seeing. And Florence gained a soul from the earth that pulses below it.
The view out my bedroom window needs to make me cry in my final abode and resting place. Cry for the weight such a vista holds willingly of my memories, relationships, and the unspoken, unspeakable forces inside that make the whole experience forever challenging.
When you lead your life by feelings, often your mind, body and spirit don't hold hands. One may skip forward a further distance from the beauty which it uses to water its growth. I could be in the process of reuniting these three parts. If so, it sounds as though I'm becoming a yogi.
We take from the most beautiful things in life in hopes our human spirits are happy at the end of the day. We've also made the ugliest realities come true because we don't trust another human to treasure the happiness we've cultivated and convinced ourselves we need.
The south wind in the Tuscan hillside smells of the dry love of crimson potpourri. Earlier, while reading my recent page-turner, Michelangelo revisited his home of Florence, after some years of internal and foreign warfare, and felt at home just by the scent of the breeze. His acute senses detected the millions of flowers that breeze had kissed, and maybe I am smelling the left-overs of such ever-blossoming sentiment.