If you’ve been reading along you know that I’ve just been in Tuscany. It was fabulous!
Scenery, history, art, community, food, music, paint, wisdom, and the divine feminine.
Stunning. Amazing. Breath-taking. Insert your favorite over-the-top adjectives here…
Having wended my way back to my usual side of the wee pond, though, I’ve noticed a couple of other things.
Before I tell you what they are, you need to know that I had knee surgery, a lot, and I have a deal with my surgeon who yells when I fall down.
Wheelchairs in airports.
And, as I’ve mentioned, the extent of my knowledge of French and Italian comes mainly from Food Network. All of which is great if you’re ordering dinner and considerably less optimal if you’re traveling alone, need assistance, and don’t speak the language!
Brief timeout to report that it’s a lovely, cool-ish evening in Atlanta and my trip out to the deck with the big dogs suggests that this year’s high school tuba player is a huge improvement over recent years!
Which, obviously, reminds me, as short on news as I still am, that there are a whole lot of people on the northern gulf coast of the US who are not having nearly so pleasant an evening.
Which, in turn, reminds me of the old saying my therapist buddies are so fond of:
Perspective isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.
Which is, I suspect, the biggest reminder of wisdom I carried home with me from Italy for I have had a huge experience in releasing the illusion of control.
I began to learn, a long time ago, that we really don’t have control over much in the world.
On a good day, we have influence.
There were moments, mostly in the airport in Paris, when I felt I had very little even of that.
Frankly, I was pretty stressed.
Tight connections. A sprawling, unfamiliar, not at all accessible airport teeming with equally stressed beings who don’t even notice a person in a wheelchair while they’re yelling into/saving the world with their cell phones and counting their kids.
People, intended to be helpful, adamantly declining to speak English even though they clearly understood me.
Elevators. Buses. Time ticking by for the last flight home of the day. And enough luggage to be a major lesson in packing light. Not enough hands for the walking stick. Well, you get the drift.
And the realization, many hours later, that I made it.
Thanks in large part to the driver in Florence who asked wise questions about US politics on the terrifying trip through narrow, crowded streets to the airport.
A true global citizen, he shared some of his observations on politics in Italy and inquired about the Stacey Abrams button on the collar of my treasured denim vest.
Then, when we arrived at the airport, he helped me out at the curb, parked the car, and helped with my luggage — and translations — until the Air France folks were on board with my requests, checked my bag, and summoned a wheel chair.
When I offered to shake hands in real appreciation, he kissed my hand instead and wished me safe travels.
The world got just a bit smaller in that moment. And a bit more united.
I spent much of the trip home pondering the large and diverse refugee community nested around my neighborhood.
Quite apart from my frequent hunting and gathering excursions to the DeKalb International Farmers Market, filled as they usually are with sign language, bowing, and waving at babies, I suddenly have a much deeper perspective into what it must be like for recent arrivals to the US to shop and work and find home here.
You might even suppose that I have become, rather than simply the artist, one of the beings who appears above, sheltered in the embrace of Bella Mama.
Which may just be the beginning of wisdom.
Next year’s trip will be the south of France, in Mary Magdalene country. It will, apparently, be a bit more challenging in terms of exertion.
I’ve decided to frame my massive sense of the calling to go by seeing this past week as the beginning of my “training” for next year.
My guiding inquiry has become, What would need to be true in order for this to be possible for me?
Some of the answers, of course, will be external. Most of them, I suspect, are entirely internal.
I am, even now, doing my part, encouraged by the affirmation newly applied to the front of my journal from this trip.
TUTTO E POSSIBILE…………………..All is possible
So be it for me, and for each of you.
For now, praying with dots for determined wisdom and fierce compassion in the world.
ps… Please vote!