An Italy State of Mind

September 29th, 2007

“How sweet to do nothing”. I first heard the phrase in a Cary Grant/Sophia Loren movie and I use it as a mantra when I’m overwhelmed by life. I took this photo last fall in Tuscany at a party in Siena. Moments before, when I was walking through town to the villa of a new acquaintance, a storm came out of nowhere. Suddenly my friends and I were running through sheets of rain and hail between aged stucco walls under gorgeous chiaroscuro clouds. Out of nowhere, a woman motioned us into her car parked on a sloping street. She was a tourist from Sweden waiting out the rain. We were soaked, instant friends, grazie, ciao, etc. When we finally got to our party, the storm had passed, wine was passed, a slow evening stained the sky, and the whole world narrowed down to the view from a window overlooking the Italian countryside. I was supposed to be in Italy again this week, this very night, at the wedding of a friend. But I cancelled a few days before because, because, because. Because I needed to have nothing to do here in my own house, at the end of my own driveway, in my own bed. Because I knew I couldn’t pack a bag, wait in an airport, go through security, take one more step out of my life right now. I know I’m a bad friend, but I also know it was one of the best weeks of my life, in which I said yes yes yes to me me me. I’m apt to take on my own guilt and any nearby free-floating guilt that no one claims, but for once I ignored it, plus all the people who said I was missing the chance of a lifetime (yes, yes, yes, I know I did!) and my own tendency to second-guess any decision I make–and stayed home and slept as late as I could, wrote pages of thoughts that had been building up like a northwestern log jam, read mindless mysteries, drank Rosa Regale at a bonfire, and let all the sad, bad, mad thoughts fall off me like leaves in a Vermont autumn. Maybe next year Italy will be waiting for me again and I will be ready.

One Response to “An Italy State of Mind”

  1. Diane says:

    What an evocative reminder of the hail storm and everything that followed. Thanks.

    Thanks also for the reminder that sometimes saying no, even when no seems like an impossible option, can open up a small world of yes. Now I want a week off to contemplate all this yes/no stuff.