Northern Italy is a symphony in the spring.
The colors and textures change daily, making for a complete creative assault on my senses. I discover elderly ladies in the lower fields of our property collecting mysterious wild greens. They smile demurely and close their bags post-haste, not wanting to give up the secrets of the booty their mothers and grandmothers came here to pick over the last hundred years. It used to salt me but good that they would come on my property to take something without asking, but the years in Italy have mellowed me. I want them to come, to hold on to the traditions, to bring their daughters and their granddaughters to do the same. It’s not really just my property at all, and the greens, by squatter’s rights, are theirs.
Their path crosses mine in the lower fields. I came to Italy to find myself; their path was always here. They know who they are. When I mention that we came here to put down down roots, no complicated words are necessary. They understand almost immediately what I’m trying to say. They cannot imagine a life without roots, firmly grafted to a specific place.
The change in season morphs our property from an ugly duckling of grey earth and soaked bare branches to an elegant swan of flowering trees and neon green grass. I want to grasp each day and not let any of them go. Spring renews my sense of my own journey, fills me with purpose. Our hands are dried and split from too much time in the earth planting lavender and rosemary and not enough time at the salon. But it doesn’t matter. It won’t be completely done by the time the first cars full of guests come rumbling up the quarter mile drive, but it will be enough. Enough for them to be able to shed their worries for a few days, pour themselves a glass of wine, and sit on the veranda to breathe. Which is what’s the most important, anyway.
The interactions, the ones with the ladies in the field or with the guests that drive up, feed my soul and give me new direction in my creative work. I’m amazed and awed by what we all go through to survive and thrive. People’s stories, stories that at one time might have bored me or made me roll my eyes, fascinate me now. Each person with whom we cross paths has something to tell us, something to share. If we allow their field of energy to enter ours, we can’t help but grow and change. Because as much as our external path – the places we live, the things we do – tells of one part of our journey, it’s our internal path – the one of self awareness – that leads us to the deepest sense of who we are.
I’m taking the colors around me and I’m going into the pottery studio to try and develop glazes that reflect nature. Soft whites and creams, maybe a touch of green. My new pieces are more organic than ever, more natural. I like this direction – it suits me on the path I find myself on presently. Here are some new pieces in the raw.
What path do you find yourself on? What do you pick up on conversations with those around you that are signs as to how you should continue? What is it that moves you as you remain open to events in your life?
I wish you peace on this beautiful spring day from the bel paese.