October 24th, 2008

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Hey, Ho!! I'm back!!

We are in Roma with internet access.  Hooray!!

Actually it was rather lovely to be away.  I resisted the few well-lit internet cafes we saw, though I have kept notes, so here we are.

We drove from the enchanted capital of peace, Assisi, to the Rome airport this morning, and dropped off the car and took a taxi to where we are, and then, enjoyed a leisurely lunch at a sidewalk cafe in Rome with some red wine to boost the blood, after walking through modern and ancient Rome, and so now I am again hooked up and will check my email and post what has been going on.

It is lovely to know we are in one place for awhile.  I am unpacked and have taken many city maps out of my purse.  Our plans are to leave on the 28th, though that may change and we may end up leaving on the 29th.  We'll see.  For now, email Ho!!   

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Good Morning!

I wake early in Rome, consider the news from back home, the economic news from around the world.  Perhaps it is having spent time in land that is so orchestrated to the Etruscans, Romans, invasion, absorption, and recovery, that is giving me some distance from it right now, or perhaps it is spending so much time in Assisi, which is the City of Peace, and dedicated to St. Francis who spoke so eloquently of communion and spirituality, and who lived so diligently his words. 

I thought I would go through my journal to share my trip and bring you to where I am now.

If I were to say what I have most gained it is perspective and a further realization that "wherever I go, there I am," and increasing awareness of how I influence what I see and touch and how I am influenced.

There are people who stay with me, people I carry, those who are closed and those who are open.  Steve and I are most touched by the woman who did our laundry one day.   We dropped off a dirty pile at 10 in the morning, and at 6 we picked it up.  She was so proud of the work she had done and beamed as she handed it over.   Though we had said no ironing, she ironed and returned our clothes blessed with her touch.   This is a woman who lives a life of Christ, a life as brought forward by St. Francis.  She is from Pisa.  The man who drove the taxi who brought us here is another.   The one who helped us find a place to eat last night.  There are those who live and breathe an air that is carried round the world.  It is lovely to see and experience. 

I was reading about Assisi and how one cannot help but be influenced by the stones there, the pink marble, the soft, yet swift air and energy.  I see it as true.  It is a town of peace and every place on earth can be brought to the same generosity and sensitivity.   May it be so, each moment, breath, and life of animal, plant, and stone.  

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A Taste of Assisi

The Saint's City

" When in Assisi, many believe time has stood still. But the experience is not of a museum dedicated to the preservation of history. Rather, it places people into earlier, distantly believed realities which prove themselves as present, although on a higher level. One does not need fantasy for such an experience because it is not about creating a historical stage with images, but about picking up and putting on the life-filled spirit which flows into every stone, every flower, every corner, every stairway, every church wall and every cry from a bird."

Justin Lang, O.F.M.
Grace Mc Donald, F.S.P.A

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Journal -

I look now at what I typed as we traveled and decide to post it as it is, though it is out of order and floats in and out of tense.  I seem to struggle with sorting myself into a linear world here.  All circles and in some way I feel myself living all time periods at one time.   All tilts here, and many of our meals have been shared at tables on a slant.  I think it is a  good lesson for how this world whirls.  Feng shui says energy doesn't like straight lines.  They are not found here.   Energy delights!!

The following was typed in Pisa on October 21st.  It begins with our leaving Florence, on Sunday,

This may be confusing as I typed it in with no ability to post and flipped between time periods as one does here all the time, Etruscan, Roman, medieval, modern, and I also switch between past and present tense, depending on when I am typing and on my mood.  Perhaps it offers a taste of this week.



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Travel Journal -

October 22, 2008



We sit atop Assisi with St. Francis in his tomb and out.  This land is his church.  We left Pisa and to avoid traffic took back country routes to Volterra, an up and down town, with the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre and baths.   We strolled and sipped cappuccino outside the church, and then, wandered up and down and all around and ate lunch in a perfect spot, and above the Roman ruins viewed what seemed in that moment, the entire world. We passed San Gemingnanio, and saw its glow on the hill, but didn’t stop as it is said to be crowded though our timing has been perfect as to that.  We are floating leisurely through.  We didn’t set a destination for today, having sunk enough into medieval time to understand that it is about the journey, not the final spot, so considered Perugia, and then, keep going and arrived in Assisi.  Well, initially we were in the valley, and then,  we looked up and could see the city shining on the hill so programmed an address into our GPS and she led us literally, directly across a very narrow path to the entry to the city.


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Journal continued -

Assisi:   October 23, 2008.   My Birth Day!

I wake early in the dark and cleanse, look out as the light rises and walk around outside to see it raise the grain of the pink stone.  In Vortella yesterday, we saw white marble, alabaster, and beautiful artworks formed.  Here, the light is pink, like the marble, though now the clouds come in, and there is the softness of gray.  I am 59 today.  I turned 44 at Tengboche, a monastery at 13,000 feet in the mountains of Nepal.  My friend woke me from my tent, and she and I entered the monastery and participated in a high level ceremony.  Perhaps there is something about a birth day that seeks the spiritual.  I am grateful that we endured every kind of traffic to get here. 

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Travel Journal continued - Assisi -


October 24:

I am up, awake, listening to all the church bells.  Each church is given a different time it seems so all the bells can be fully appreciated.  There are so many churches here the ringing comes from all sides and goes on a long time. 

I continue reading The Life of St. Francis of Assisi and The Treatise of Miracles, written by Brother Thomas of Celano, who was commissioned to write the life of the Blessed One.  He had met St. Francis and then, wrote about him after his death.  The translation  into English is by Catherine Bolton.

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