Here’s what you get when you mix yoga and wine country: yesterday in class, here on my yoga retreat tucked into a Tuscan hill, after an all afternoon wine tasting, as we all bent and twisted in our vinyasa flow, the teacher said, “Okay, we are going to do some variations. For those of you who are drunk, just keep doing the flow.” I may never leave.
Morning coffee spot
Ebbio retreat center
Dove’s nest in bathroom window
This little guy came to my plate for scraps.
Hen house, where I saw a rooster having a little too much fun.
Peacock in the hen house, not having so much fun.
Even the donkey is happy here.
Summer is here. Storms hang in corners; windows are now perpetually open, as mosquitoes rest on my pillow waiting for me to sleep so that they can have their feast. I thought we’d left bed nets behind in Uganda, but this past week we found ourselves hanging them above and around our bed in Rome, so that once again night holds us in webs.
Construction is also in flower, and every corner and every window barrages the world around it with hammering and drilling, which pound and pierce into my every pore. My husband used to tease me that I didn’t know the world existed beyond the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It was as if I had a string that could only go so far, a tension cord, which would swing me back if it became too taught, too far away. But then we moved to Uganda, and as I’ve written it wasn’t easy, but slowly, without me even noticing it, I surrendered to silence filled with birds, and insects, and freedom. I remember going back to NY last summer and for the first time in my life found myself cowering and reeling back from the intense noise being hurled at me. That same feeling has sadly been felt by our daughter here. For seven months now she’s walked with her hands over her ears and asks me why it has to be this way. Yesterday she actually said, “Mommy, Rome is too loud. I think we need to leave soon and find a quieter home.” And then today, while walking her to school we took a different route, longer, but through a nicer street. For one moment the traffic calmed and my 4 year-old daughter stopped me and said, “Mommy, listen. It’s quiet. That’s so nice.” And then, of course, the light turned green and we braced ourselves again.
I write all this as I start to pack to leave the city for the summer. Yes, there will be concrete and steel and noise along the way, but mostly it will be vines and mountains and sea. I look forward to watching my daughter drop her hands back down to her sides, while my husband spreads his soul and being as far as the horizon can take him.
I won’t be writing as much. A good deal of the journey is as far away from technology as we can get. But I will try and post some stories and pictures along the way. I wish everyone a very happy summer.
Here are some shots of the Ugandan sky, which opened me up and spread me out so that apartments in cities can no longer contain, or sustain me.
Just a 45 minute drive from Rome, you can climb up into the sky. Below you are cherry trees, olive trees, and apple trees, that you can stop and pick from along the way. As we drove back to the city, smog and noise welcoming us at the gate, it took all we had to not turn around and go back. We live in cities for work, for opportunity, connection, but I am starting to think it’s not worth losing the stars. I asked my husband last night if the next stop can be right under them.