PEACE

The Daily WORD is PEACE
This is an oldie, but I haven’t known such PEACE since those few days in May 2005. Thank you, Kathy!

Under a Not-Quite-Tuscan Sun

I am at a farm north of Rome in the Lazio region near the Tuscan border with my new friend Kathy, a New Yorker who has lived in Rome for ten years. She invited me to accompany her on a dog-sitting mission for the farm’s ten dogs. Alberto, Kathy’s boss, drove us here, plus her three dogs. Alberto briefly sniffed the country air, then took off like Rome’s diesel fumes are his breath of life.

The one-hundred-year-old farmhouse is at the end of what Kathy calls a road and Alberto calls pazzo (crazy) and is divided into three apartments. The not-quite owner loves dogs, not people. I say not-quite owner, because he could not keep up with the payments so the bank owned it. This bank, being Italian,  did not want to evict an elderly man. They simply sold the farm to another man who thinks he is an artist. Not-quite owner has lived here long enough that for not-quite artist to evict him requires years of red tape. Thus, not-quite owner lives here full time and not-quite artist comes occasionally and entertains himself with ludicrous landscaping attempts.

Not-quite artist is influenced by Easter Island, and all around are Easter Island mini-megaliths that do not harmonize with the Greek statues mass produced in a sweatshop in Pakistan. The third apartment is Kathy’s pied a terre.

I am sitting on the sunniest of four terraces, all tilting gently into the landscape, looking at a meadow and sheep. Pines dance against an achingly blue sky. I just returned from a walk along fields of poppies and other wild flowers, white and yellow, and fist-sized violet thistles. I am living in the Twenty-Third Psalm with mini-megaliths to remind me I must return to our world of awkward imperfection.

Kathy is concerned. “You look so – well – bewildered.”

Of course I am bewildered. I raised three kids and now I am the sitter of choice for six grandkids, plus I had a stressful job in Chicago and a house to maintain. Living in Rome by myself was the closest I had come to peace in thirty years. And now, peace has moved into another dimension. I try to explain.

“Peace,” she says, her amen on her way to the strawberry patch..

I open my novel. I put it down. I peel a blood orange and yawn. Under this not-quite Tuscan sun, I shall take a not-quite naked nap. No tours will come trooping by in matching sun visors. I am in Lazio, and they are all in Tuscany.

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