touching base

I caught up with my brother this week
it had been a while
I’m always excited when using skype to see a familiar face live in front of me
it remains magic
I don’t skype face to face that often

we had a nice long chat
for several years there were barriers between us
in a field that seemed to expand, the grass grew tall and wild
it was thick and the idea of reaching one another was tedious
could we find a path
make a path
get to that fence and tear it down
find the opening

I don’t know if its time
if life’s many storms had something to do with it
but eventually the field got clear and the fence got easier to get by
you know those old field fences
it doesn’t hold anyone with a good will

we’re both aging too
maybe we have collected a few grains of wisdom

my brother is an artist
it is both a gift and a curse
a gift as one can find a mean to express and give
a curse as there isn’t always someone to receive and appreciate
it is a lonesome road

caught between the need to create and a longing for community one has to find balance
between expectations and wants one must remain true

there is much about self these days
for long it bothered me
self like selfish
like me, me, me
look up for a minute, leave your navel alone

I have to review this notion
and to admit
that one must take care of oneself first
if I am weak, if I am sick, if I am unhappy
there isn’t much I can do for others
there isn’t much I can offer except for a reflection of my misery

I have to agree that one has to nurture oneself in order to nurture others
to nurture oneself is to find balance
between wants and needs

my bother has gone through many storms in the past years
he’s been battered
lost his footing
landing on a new shore he’s had to start from scratch
the options are broad
it doesn’t make it easy

along the way he’s found a companion
a ray of sunshine he’d forgotten about
yet, he still wonders, what his next step should be
where to put that corner stone

take care of yourself brother
forget about the expectations and wants of others
be selfish for a moment
bask in that sun and feel those seeds grow
forget about an abundant harvest
as long as it is enough to fulfill your needs
you will always find enough to break bread and feed others


one week ago

one week ago I was thinking
surrounded by our kids
like if it was christmas
that I would look back at this week end one week from now
that I would be there already
would have filled my eyes
would be settled in a new space
would sit back and reflect

there was a dose of anxiety
some excitement, some last minute check in
the list, adding to it, scratching items as I went
the piles of clothes, and gear, and little object to pack, unpack, repack
what will I need
what to bring
what am I forgetting
insurance, money, reservations
why isn’t Pedro getting back to me
yes Alessandro will pick us up
should I reserve train tickets online or at the station
online, now
Pedro won’t be there but Giulio will meet us with keys
90 days in Italy
first stop Firenze

two of our kids accompany us to the airport
wait in line
figure out the tickets
walk us to the gate
we wave
a funny feeling that we are on the wrong side
as if they were the ones that should be boarding

you two look younger, you should travel more often

I take my shoes off before passing the security check
bins for the laptop and phone
bins for the handbag, coat
I walk through, it beeps
the belt: metal on the belt
take the belt off and walk through
don’t stop

I mimic others
ones that seem to do this all the time
I feel like a kid
I often do
lift off
this feeling of being pushed back in the seat
the ground far below in no time
this is it

overnight flight, three planes, not enough sleep, Blade Runner on a tiny screen
in Munich we must go through custom in order to get to our boarding gate
the officer must be my kids age, he is friendly
how long is your stay? this way for the gate

was that it
at the very small airport in Firenze no one will check us

I have been studying italian for weeks on duolingo
time to practice
dov’e … dov’e… ?
how do we say bus to downtown
why didn’t duolingo teach me that
I know how to say that the horse does not eat sugar
it won’t get me downtown though

it’s a grey rainy day
the streets are busy
no one pays attention to us
the streets meander, change names, it takes a while but we find our apartment and Giulio is there with the keys

over the next two days we will explore the city
get lost in it’s outskirts
eat at a famous trattoria
have the most delicious paninis
drink wine and some more wine
get struck by the unreal beauty of the Duomo
be one of so many tourists
walk the streets again and again
visit the Uffizi gallery
admire the talent of medieval artists

the journey begins
we must put our shoes on
today we are going to Assisi