Doing Life Together

AnghiaririIf you’ve never visited Tuscany in Italy, there is much to love–beautiful hills flowing with vineyards, olive trees and sunflowers. The landscape looks like a painted picture. But what is so captivating about Tuscany is the way people live. It is simple, uncomplicated by modern life.

In the 12th century town that became my home for 2 weeks, I awakened to the sound of a rooster. By 7:15 a.m., I walked to the bakery where I found warm, freshly baked croissants filled with apricot jam to accompany my morning coffee. Surprisingly, there is no take out coffee in Tuscany. Coffee is served in a ceramic cup and to be enjoyed with people.

People work hard in this land of agriculture, medieval castles and cathedrals. But when it is time for meals, food is an experience. Meals are slow, deliberate, multiple courses and presented like a work of art. Nothing was processed. All was homemade using garden herbs and homegrown olive oil. I drank water from a tap on the old wall of the city.

My allergies were nonexistent and I went to bed tired from all the walking I did during the day. There was no gym, no pilates, just natural movement in a town with stairs and hills. Several times during the day, I made my way down the mountain, up the mountain, into town and around the wall.

I watched no TV, only the sun rise. I lingered over doorsteps surrounded by flowers bursting from pots. The smell of fresh lavender was released whenever I would run my fingers through the flower. The ordinary became extraordinary. Life slowed down.

As I gazed at the pregnant Madonna in Monterchi and  the della Robbias of Laverna, I felt gratitude for the beauty of art to capture sacred moments.

For two weeks, Tuscany allowed me to live in the moment, enjoy the beauty of creation, slow down,  savor meals and the company of good friends. And I was reminded that this is what I need to build in my life–times of rest, spiritual refreshment and enjoyment of others. Tuscany taught me to rest-a lesson I desperately needed.

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