October 18th, 2008

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A day to absorb - Florence!

We rose early today to eat breakfast and get to the Uzzifi before the crowds.   We arrived at 8:35, which was too late.  The tours are out in force.  The line for the museum entry was two hours, and we had not understood we should have booked yesterday.  Our mistake and yet perhaps a good one.  We walked to the river and checked it out, but getting right down next to it requires a private entry, so we leaned over the wall, and I realized how much my feet longed to walk on grass, not stone.  We strolled around the building to an outside cafe where it was quiet and we were alone.  We ordered chocolato, hot chocolate.  What came out to us was so velvety and thick it was essentially chocolate pudding.  I ate it with a spoon.  Yum!

Then, we noticed a teeny-tiny entry to the Museum of Science, and the theme was Galileo and his development of the telescope.   We waited with two other people for the 9:30 opening, and had Galileo and his discoveries to ourselves.  We read about the development of the lens and saw instruments that surveyed and did perspective.  We saw Galileo's telescopes and read about his thought process and discoveries.  Wow!

It was fascinating and quiet.  We checked out the line again, worst, so enjoyed the statues outdoors, and realized any one statue really is enough for a day.   What is this need to stuff in so much?   Those on tour do not even appear awake.  They follow in a line, many in matching jackets.  It is like watching a parade of preschoolers, so we wandered the streets some more, and then, realized we were tired, so we gave ourselves permission to come home and take a nap and then, we went back out and walked and found a lovely spot for lunch, and then, again, recognized fatigue, so came back to the roof terrace, and looked at Florence 360 degrees around and read, and thought, and absorbed, and then, came back and napped some more.  

On the terrace, the duomo is on one side and another amazing church on the other.  It is great to view from on high and be among the clouds which are amazing here.  I saw two kissing like lips and thought of how are lips are always two.  No wonder we look for someone to kiss.  

There are pomegranate trees on the terrace with pomegranates hanging down, a most amazing fruit and the moon was again a gift in the sky.  It is enough.  We need to renew.

Being on the roof, I felt how much I need the touch and feel of the sky each day.   I like to be close to it, lifted. 

I also found myself with the word Annunciation.   That was when Mary was told she would be impregnanted with Jesus.  I think the light here is impregnating, that one must take time to absorb the change.   One is immersed, dipped.   Today, I allowed the rearrangement of myself.  

I was in "shock and awe," the good kind when I walked in Orvieto and Siena, and Florence yesterday was life-altering.  I am grateful today to feel the rearrangement of my atoms and molecules, and to absorb the centuries of Florentine minds, art, and air.

There is so much stimulation, the rhythm and music of the language, most of which we don't understand, the movement and design of the clouds, the smells of great food in the air.   Today, exhaustion hit and so it is.    Today, we needed to be outside and tomorrow we go to Parma for a Monday meeting for Steve.  It is the land of Parma ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano, my favorite cheese.   :)

We are enough in the reception of Florentine life and sky.   We are absorbed, absorbing.  

Now it is time to go out to dinner and dine.   The wines and food are astonishing.   We feast.

I never really appreciated tiramasu until last night.   I begin to feel hungry.  Pasta and other delights await!

Enjoy where you are.   Be penetrated.  Impregnate.  Annunciate.

This is my meaning for today.  

We are domes with hearts that wing on shadow and light.

Perhaps that is the gift of these magnificent clouds, the shadows and play of light.  It is like Escher creations in the marble here, as there is a  play of color, with marble of black and white.  Have I mentioned the veins in the marble, the life and dramas there, and a color of blue in the stained glass that is the color of blue in a glacier.  Oh, my!!    My heart is light, and though I am full, my tummy is ready to welcome a little sustenance to taste and absorb.

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In the night -

I am awake in the night digesting and contemplating.  I'm been perusing the Michelin guide to Italy.  All our lives we are seduced with information on Italy, and so being here, it is hard, at least for me, to take it all in, to digest the history, movies, language, music, art, fashion and literature based here, to cohere it all into one me.  It is like diving into a multitude of time periods at once, like living coiled in chambers like a Nautilus shell, like being a yeasty bread torn apart.

I feel torn apart and put together again and again, each time a little more tweaked to understand the centuries of growth, the balance of war and art, the blood shed to conquer and fuel and the huge need so revealed for the celebration of spirituality, of a head tilted back to the sky, of the need for so many to ingest the blood and body of Christ.  There are innumerable churches, and ringing bells, and how, then, is each of us held, to open and close, connect and build future and past in this moment, and the next.

What is my offering, discovery, color, hue, tint?

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William Stafford -

The Language of Life

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

- William Stafford