Da Sola in Italia

March 28, 2017

It has been a cool and cloudy week in Chiavari. My health is still not at 100% but, when the sun peeks out from its hiding place behind the clouds, I head for the sea, la passagiata, the promenade.

The sun gives me life-energy. And the sea brings me peace, every single time. The sound of the water, the scent of the salt in the air, and all the people out enjoying it, all of it gives me a sense of peace, a feeling of oneness with the world.

Everywhere I look on the promenade, I see families together, friends, couples. All ages are represented here and nearly all are speaking Italian. And I am alone at my table, with my morning cappuccino.


Most of the time, it doesn’t bother me to be alone. I don’t really feel that way when surrounded by all these Italians and, also, the sea. It reminds me of the background sound of the family gathered at Nonna and Grandpa Ricci’s house. People are talking in small groups. Children are riding their bicycles or running along in front of me. I capture some words from this conversation, see a father embrace his little one on another side of me. I love it all.

I am human. I do get lonely. The Italian words da sola can mean alone or lonely. Yet, they are two very different things. I like being alone. I dress as I please, read or write or sing and dance alone.

On this adventure, there have been times of gut-wrenching loneliness. I expected it. I have felt it before and I am sure I will again. You know that feeling that you need un’abbracione, a big hug? Or you just want to talk with someone who accepts you and understands you. Or, when you are ill, maybe someone could bring a glass of water to you. Sometimes it really does feel like physical pain, like a tearing of some organ or tendons in your gut.

For comfort along this journey, I have searched for the physical constants in my life, the things that are there and do not change no matter what. I know that every day the sun rises and sets, and the moon is there, even when unseen. Since I am a person of the night, I have begun to see la luna, the moon, as my friend.

My new Nikkon camera with the giant lens has allowed me to study my new friend. I see her hollows, her pockmarks and her radiant beauty.

I see her change her size daily and I see her play hide and seek.

She fascinates me.  She reminds me of all those out there in the world who I love and who love me. They may not be there in front of me. Sometimes the moon is not visible either. Yet she is there. And so are they. Sometimes I may only be a sliver in their thoughts but I am there. My thoughts of them approach on the colors of the sky in the early evening—morning time in the United States.

They think of me, send me an email or a text with a photo. And then the moon is there once again.

And the pain in my gut moves on. I feel a warmth of love and acceptance. I share it with those I love as generously as I am able.

Other times, I am the full moon herself. I am brazen and bold. I shine light on those who love me and I feel strong. I share this feeling with all I meet and see. And, surprisingly, they shine it back on me. It is a communion of human beings sharing a laugh or a smile. Sometimes it is sharing pain or problems. It is powerful and I always hope to understand that it is there.

This is a relatively new feeling for me. My good friend Dot, Dorothy Fletcher, showed me how to expect kindness and goodness from strangers and friends, and it will come to you. Through her example I began to believe in the goodness of The Human Race. And they were there.

Of course, the world has its evil people. Things can be horrendous. But, in general, I believe Dot was correct. And that helps me sleep at night. That and my friend the moon. And you.

Thank you for sharing my journey with me. My hope for you is that you can feel the joy I do feel every day I am here in Italy, following my path. Don’t worry about my loneliness, or your own. It passes. And when it does, I believe the world fuller for the experience.

The sun is setting. The clouds are back. But the moon is there.

At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come and press its face against mine.

Breathe into me.

Close the language-door and open the love-window.

The moon won’t use the door, only the window.

By Rumi.

Ciao for now!

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