Tuesday, February 28, 2006

In the Details

This morning I think a walk around the village is in order. It’s not a big one I bet I could pass every building in less than an hour. That’s if I take it slow. Slow is exactly how it should be. I want it slow. Slow and easy that’s Tuscany. I slide in and out of the shower and then into my clothes. Funny, my dislike for transitions seems to fall away from me here.

I grab some fruit off the table in my room. There’s always fruit in Italy. It’s something to do with their connection to each other and to the land.

I walk out into the yellow Tuscan sunlight, eating a banana. I’m wearing a yellow shirt. The clay stucco buildings look old and new at the same time. Me I look uncompromisingly new—a neophyte by comparison. I’m a kid with much to learn. The windows have been replaced and fitted as if young professionals have moved to town. A look alongside each house and that image in struck to dust. The gardens tell the real stories. The Italian kitchen gardens stand replete with vegetables outside the windows, so that the cooks can go out to pick exactly what they need. This is a life I know so little about. I try to picture myself here, to wish me here. It’s like wishing I were Cinderella at the ball.

It’s no wonder the food tastes wonderful when the gardens look like that.

I stop at a café al fresco for a latté. I want to be with the local people. I ask for a latté and that’s what I get—steamed milk. I had done it once by accident, and found that I liked it. So now it is my traditional “while in Italy” morning drink. No one seems to think it’s weird. No one here seems to think anything I do is weird.

I first saw the wine wall over the top of my latté. It’s one more detail that makes me feel that someone cares. I set my book aside and have my latté, drinking in the lovely wall. It’s a work of art. It’s where they keep the wine. They know how to make art of life.

I leave some lira on the table and decide to explore some more.

On the way down the street I see the window. It has wrought iron bars. On the sill sits a red geranium, a full blooming plant overflowing its ceramic pot. The pot is hugging itself into the corner made by the block of the stucco sill and the window wall. There between the iron bars someone had stuck a pair of boots. Were they hiking boots? They were stuck there to dry in the sun. It’s another picture of life—a still life as life really is. Two details left for me to see.

I passed a couple walking. They must be 80. They smile and say, “buon giorno.” I say the same. It sounds like music. Who says it’s not? I don’t speak their language, nor do they speak mine.
It’s how they catch my eyes and hold them with their own. The smile in their eyes is a detail, but it makes me feel that I am home.
—me strauss Letting me be


garnet david said...

I would like to be able to catch your eye someday, and hold it with the tenderness of a moment which may never happen again, at least never the same.

You make me want to keep my heart open no matter what, just in case I might find a healing smile to join with at the least expected moment.

ME Strauss said...

Ah Garnet,
You will catch my eye one day. You have already caught it with your heart. You have been my healing smile so many times when I have needed one.


Dawn said...

I walk out into the yellow Tuscan sunlight, eating a banana. I’m wearing a yellow shirt.

Those 3 "yellow" images have one thing in common - their softness. Hope this Tuscan journey is an occasion to shed what is hard and harsh and move deeper into what is soft and tender.
Benvenuta a Italia, bella!

Doug said...

Liz, you're my ambassador to poetry. Tuscany!

I took some more prosaic advice you once gave me. Details on my site, but let the sun fall first.

ME Strauss said...

Thank you, Dawn.
I hope so too. I could use the soft light of the Tuscan sun to shine on my life and to bring out some soft things in me.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Doug,
Great to see you over here in Italy. I'll come visit to see what's going on with Ambrose.

ME Strauss said...

PRATTLE-That is so cool.
Come back and leave a link here.

Doug said...

Thanks, Liz. It's nice to be here. Do you recommend the eggplant?

The link is Prattle and I hope this doesn't make me a spammer.

That was a fine idea.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Doug,
The eggplant is excellent, as are the stuffed tomatoes and the artichokes.

Of course it doesn't make you a spammer. I asked you to bring the link.

easywriter said...

Tuscany..."sigh"...Maybe someday I will go back there again. You make me feel as though I am there already.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Easy!!!!
So glad to see you! You are there. We're all there in our minds. Welcome come have glass of wine.