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April 12-April 24
This was more of a journey than a wedding anniversary trip for me. My husband and I went on a trip to Italy to celebrate our 24thanniversary. It was life changing experience. Although, here in NY where I live, I wear many ‘hats’ so to speak, I felt I was completely pulled out from my identities. I sensed something higher, grander and mysterious. Even the travel took me out of my realm as the time shifted 6 hours after transporting us for hours in air. I experienced about a month's worth of site seeing in a mere week and a half. I will touch base on the events but want to express that it was the people behind these buildings and sites that were transforming to me.
It was the spirits and the ghosts in the walls of the buildings too that spoke to my heart in the rushed, swirling days and nights. The first few days were a bit blurry from lack of sleep, but we visited the Vatican. After arriving to our hotel in Rome we walked through the cobble stone streets of Rome Italy. It felt surreal. We saw the piazza novena and saw many churches. On Sunday we went to an ornate cathedral, the first Jesuit church….where, although they said the mass in Italian, I felt universally connected.
Later in between absorbing the mores and heights of parts of the city, we went to the Trevi fountain and Spanish steps. It was so much in one day. We woke up early and met the world of cars and historical sculptures, we walked and looked…..All along people wanted us to buy things from them. Toys, flowers, tickets. My husband and I talked about what if they have families and this is the only way to support themselves. We continued onto the Borj park. We walked about seven miles that second day. I was quite tired, over whelmed and in awe. We walked to the pieta Campanili. We walked to the coliseum and we sketched many buildings and trees. The Vatican and the museum at the Sistine Chapel was life changing.
I didn’t hear but rather felt the people, the history whispering their stories. We went to see the Papal audience with Pope Francis and was almost in touching distance. He picked up a child, a smiling boy who reminded me of my grandson. This mass was warm, intelligent, holy. I felt hope.
We went to Florence and saw the David. Amazing. The detail was staggering. As an artist I observed this famous piece of art from an esthetic point of view and also from a technical point of view. We went to an all-day painting class in which a professor --that studied in an acclaimed Florence Academy of Arts—taught us traditional techniques in still life and portraiture.
After arriving back to Rome briefly we traveled to Assisi and Orvieto. These two places were one of the most favorite places I have been too. It was quaint and warm and lovely. In St Francis chapel there was a center section that had a mesh around various sundry items like baby pacifiers, shoes and the like. It was a shrine of people that have passed. Spontaneously, I took my mother’s scarf off which I had been wearing around my neck and pushed it through the mesh. I felt so happy and I felt a part of my departed mother’s spirit was with St. Francis. I felt radiant peace. It was all so mystical and I felt love throughout all the incredible impressions. This quote came to my mind from the book: “The Inner Eye of Love” that William Johnston wrote when he was talking about love and mysticism which was the pulse and heart beat during in my Journey to Italy: ”Mysticism is a question of love, a love which arises in the heart in answer to a call, a love which leads through the darkness of the cloud of unknowing to the great mystery which is light in itself but darkness to us. Saint Teresa of Avila speaks of occasions in which the inspiration to pray for another rose spontaneously and unexpectedly in her heart. “ It was bittersweet coming back home. I missed my children, grandchildren, friends and pets. I missed my form I was use to. The memory is in my cells now. The hunger for more in the depth of my soul.