Slow

This is a response to the Hope Writers Challenge. Hope you like what you read!

A mouthing-watering old medieval house in Trevi with an original fresco.

“Ahhhhhh!” Says the mind as the body relaxes in the small wooden chair. It’s pulled up to a cute little round table, reclining on the cobblestones of a small piazza of Trevi, an ancient town in Umbria, just outside of the local bar. Upon the table sits an Aperol Spritzer, liquid transparent glassy coral, the perfect refresher after a two hour hike from an even smaller town, Capello sul Clitunno.

A little temple-turned church we saw while hiking on The Way of St. Francis, and a scene in Trevi.

Now was the opportunity to take in village life -so quiet and ordinary compared to the bustling of Rome. It was so hard to slow the mind down though.

The body, though hot and sweaty, was really quite happy where it was, but the mind was going at a million miles a second in the typical tourist way of trying to cram quantity of things seen, and not quality. I was miserable.

Yes, this was so ideal, sitting here, my watercolor journal out, ready to capture the idealic scene but all I could think about was how things were going with my travel companions. I had told them in a not very cheerful way that I just wanted time alone – I wanted time to do what I was doing. But I couldn’t enjoy it.

I ended up sucking down that spritzer pretty quickly, blaming things on the blend of travel companions, myself included. I decided to catch back up to my sisters. Traipsing  though the narrow streets, along the old medieval wall, and out through the ancient gate, I saw my siblings ahead of me. I had to linger behind them. I couldn’t travel at this pace. We has zipped through that teeny town that I had stayed in so many years ago as a pilgrim. I resented our pace. And then I realized I could do something about it.

The view from the olive tree.

An olive grove was on my left, and it wound in such a way that it actually faced the city on the hill. I got out my watercolor kit, took out my little seat cloth and sat on it and looked out from under my silvery olive canopy at the tiered city. 

Now this was traveling.

This was perfect. 

Then the church bells tolled, gently rolling over the town. 

This was balm for the soul. 

I laid back and fell asleep under the olive tree. 

The reposo wasn’t too long, but it was just enough to set things in a better perspective. I sat up, gazed more at the scene and the rest of the Umbrian valley below me.

The scene -very gestury.

It had to be painted, and so a brief scene was whipped out. The day ended with me reunited with my sisters washing our feet in the cool crystal clear springs of Campello before having dinner at the local ristorante.

Fast forward two years.

I was co-teaching Itinerarium, an outdoor program for boys. A daily requirement for us teachers was do our sit spot. A sit spot is a place in nature that you go to every day and simply sit there and notice what is going on around you. Talk about slowing down. You STOP.

Sit.

Look.

Listen.

Smell.

Taste (not everything!).

Feel.

Noticing these outward things, put me in touch with my senses, in touch with nature, with our nature: being a human BEING.

Slowing down helped me to be more of a human Being.

And at my sitspots, day in, day out, through winter rain, snow and ice, and exuberant spring morns, I realized that back in Italy, what I really was craving was a pace slow enough to get in touch with being myself: not a human doing, but a human being.

Two more years later… 

Today, I actually slowed down my day enough so that while I took our regal English mastiff, Mishka on our morning walk, I took a few extra moments, got an espresso at the local cafè, and sat outside. While the arctic geese honked over the bustling historic street, and Mishka sat patiently, I purred in contentment and gratitude for this moment of slow appreciation of the gift of BEING.

Grateful to have traveled with these lovely sisters, and their patience with an over-anticipator!

Hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s prompt: Rest


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