Notes to the Past

A Revelation - from London

A few years ago, while in a period of self-discovery which incorporated readings by Eckhart Tolle and Jan Frazier and others, my senses were elevated and as my birthday approached, a friend asked my age. Although over 50 at the time - way over - I answered, "17".
Little did I know, as we set off on American Airlines, I would make a discovery relative to this particular number - seemingly chosen out of thin are. Recently, we wandered from Los Angeles, found our way to London, then Florence where we settled into a hillside villa near Mensano. Frances Mayes was spitting distance away. Not really, but she might have been a short car drive away.

Our eyes and senses encountered treasures of art and architecture, while our bodies nearly melted in the 90+ degree heat. We returned exhausted, our brains and bodies filled with a collage of memories and experiences - smells, tastes, pesky wasps and biting flies, hotels filled with tourists and smiling service employees, prosciutto and melon, and enough Caprese salads to last a lifetime!
What stands out for me, personally, is an encounter with a young woman at - an Italian, educated in Germany, now living and working in London. The girlfriend of a friend, we spent only a couple of evenings with her. We were charmed by her beauty, her intelligence - and most of all her humor and laughter.
Last night, we dined at Granger Restaurant - a London favorite. I reminisced about my first trip to Europe, with an Aunt and Uncle - when we visited with family; brothers of my Grandfather, and a niece and other relatives of my Grandmother. We travelled from Milan to Genoa, then down into the core of Italy, where we visited Florence and Rome. We returned on the Adriatic side of the country, making stops along the way, and headed for Venice. Then home.
That 30 day journey was dreamlike for me. Intertwined throughout was the contemporary music of the day. Musicians such as Jimmy FontanaLittle Tony, Rita Pavone, Gianni Morandi and Orrieta Berti all sang their songs, giving me background music as I first saw Trevi Fountain, Pitti Palace, The Duomos of Florence and Siena, the Mediterranean Sea, colonnades and archways, lovely piazzas and cobblestone, and marble statues.

As I mentioned the names of singers from more than forty years ago, our new friend's eyes widened. Her father, a music producer, was friends with every artist I remembered. She updated me as to their current lives; marriages, divorces, children and grandchildren. She also referred to that era as a thriving time in Italian contemporary music.
I listened to her as the revelation snapped into place. That trip, taken so many years ago, was within the space of childhood and adulthood - seventeen, almost eighteen, finished with high school, about to enter college. In the very middle of it all, that dreamlike trip to Italy was a pivotal stake, a holding place between past and future.
While current travels were expansive in so many ways, this connection from present to past makes for interesting discussion as we begin our journey home.


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