24 December 2013

Holiday Blessings

These are flowers from my daughter's yard going to various friends for Christmas. They grow wild here with their vivid reds and oranges so perfect for the holidays. They are being sent to you virtually to wish you holiday good cheer and many blessings.

For the Solstice last night I had a ceremony with my family. We lit candles aginst the dark of the longest night of the year and to call in the light. It was lovely and brings the wish for love and light in your life this coming year.

p.s. For those who wondered what the two surprises were from my granddaughter (age 7) that she was so excited about, I now know. The first (the "small" surprise) was a note she wrote welcoming us to Trinidad - very sweet and warmed my heart. The second (the "decorating" surprise) is that she moved into her own bedroom which she also decorated by herself. Looks great and I've been conscripted to help finish the organizing- should be fun. May your surprises bring you joy.

14 December 2013

Soft Against the Dark

These days of early dark
and long nights invite
the warmth of candles. Ours
are spread on the dining table
and scattered in the living room.
We light them as we settle in, sip wine,
and talk into the night, cozy in the glow,
soft against the dark.

Mary, at dVerse Poets Pub, has us writing about candles and light, which seems particularly appropriate this time of year. This comes with best wishes for happy holidays to all and the warmth candles lit against the dark.

13 December 2013

Family Calls

My granddaughter phoned today
excited about two things she can't tell me.
She said one was a present she made:
'It's small. Can you guess?'
I couldn't.
The second has to do with decorating:
'You're going to like this!'
Squeals and lots more 'Can you guess?'es
got me excited, too.
'Tis the season...
family calls...

Holiday 55 for the G-Man. My granddaughter is seven and I leave to see her and her family the day after tomorrow. I've made the usual promises to myself to keep writing, however, they live in the rain forest of Trinidad where internet connection is spotty. Forgive my lapses. But, I'm excited!

Dear Rosaria

Dear Rosaria,

You kindly asked about my life here in Italy. It embarrassed me and gave me the push I needed. It has been a while since I wrote an update but it's not as simple a question as it once was which is perhaps why I haven't. My first years here were full of newness- new country, new language, new friends, new culture so different from what I was familiar with. My gypsy soul loved it all. Whatever the challenges, surmounting them was heady stuff. My world became so much bigger and I became a citizen of that world. Gladly. You know that feeling you get when you're in the right place at the right time with the right person? I felt like that. For the first four and a half years. And then I didn't.

It's hard to pinpoint the precise time or reason. Like so many things it started as a small thought in the back of my mind, barely there, and me, barely aware. But it grew. Became a full grown idea and then crystalized as a longing for home. I've been a wanderer, a seeker, for years now and I feel rich and full from all I've seen and done...but I'm not home. Not among my tribe. Not where I want to be. I know you love my stories of Italy and the savoring of life here that I've shared. But I want to go home and plant my roots there, deep in the soil of my home's earth. I must do this.

I told some others that I want to be closer to my family and that's certainly true. As I get older, (68 in two months! Can you believe that?) time with them is more and more precious. But since you've asked (twice) what's going on with me, I want to let you know that this move is really about me and the yearning I feel. Seems like it's time for me to stay still, listen deeply and let all these experiences become part of the warp and woof of who I am.

I'd like it to be part of a neighborhood as diverse as my family has become so they feel welcomed and mirrored. I look forward to being part of a running group that includes older women, a writing group that welcomes poets and a volunteer group responsive to the needs of our neighborhood. You know me, I'm still the girl with a protective arm around her brother and her hands on her hips ready to fight for what's right.

So, thanks for asking again. I needed that nudge to acknowledge what's true for me just now. I sense the care behind your question. I appreciate it, and you. You're a good friend. I'm grateful.


Gay Reiser Cannon at dVerse Poets Pub in Form for All wrote about hearth, home and common speech. She asked us to bring our writing back home and keep the vocabulary personal. Mine's not a poem but it's all about home and was sparked by a friend's urging.

11 December 2013

The Catastrophe of Feathers

The catastrophe of feathers
is their vulnerability to oil.
That and the vulgarity of madmen's
irrational willingness to spill it.
Holy crow, it's lunacy! They're devilish,
absolutely lavish in their lunacy,
set it as a credential to devise
an entire system of lunacy,
then call it business in their gibbering
gossip over glasses of whiskey.
The degree to which they upend
natural order known only to
the frenzied, cadaverous birds.

Shay, aka Fireblossom, over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, provided us a word list for a poem and then wrote a fantabulous poem using all 23 of the words. She's like that. I only used 19 but liked the process. It always feels as if the words themselves write the poem. How could I read such a word list and not shout about this catastrophe?

06 December 2013

Mistress of Magic

Send barges through mists
where the veil between worlds drifts.
Land on the Holy Isle of Avalon
halfway between our world and Faerie.
Meet anew legendary women
as wise women and priestesses.
See the world when we worshiped
Great Mother Goddess in spiritual quest.
See the struggles when deity became masculine.
Behold all we lost.

Over at dVerse Poets Pub, Samuel Peralta shared 55 word summaries of books. He had us use 55 words to link to the G-Man. Here's my summary of Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, my all time favorite book. It tells the Arthurian legend through the eyes of the women and becomes a portrayal of women's struggles to survive in a masculine world.

28 November 2013

What I'm Most Grateful for Today at Age 67

I only want to kiss you I lamented when I lost my libido.
You said fine. I love that you only kissed me
for a long time until I asked for more. You obliged
and we discovered a whole new way to ignite
passion that found its fulfillment. Today,
I love you most for that.

55 for the G-Man - giving thanks for things that really matter.

27 November 2013

Shades of Grey

snow laden
clouds, low slung, blur
boundaries of earth
and sky. Grey sky
melds to grey hills,
all features fused shades
of grey, indistinct,
straight grey patterns
where vineyards grew
soft grey mounds
of olive groves.
Limbo, lost
between here and there,
a place of waiting,
ready to move on,
but not able,
from here,
there sighted
yet denied.

Prompted by Kerry over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads who posted evocative B & W photos and had us writing in B & W or shades of grey. Photo taken from my balcony.

18 November 2013


Clouds cluster on hills,
rain streams for days without cease
drives birds from the sky.
When you left all air went too.
Skies gray, leaves fall without sound.

Yesterday, Kerry posted a third article on Tanka over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. It took me a while so I'm posting this for open link Monday.

16 November 2013

Repost- January Child

January Child

I came along in the dead of winter
born in my own time three weeks late.
Father was at work.
Mother begged a ride from a neighbor
to go and do her woman's work alone.
She napped me on the porch
to be toughened by the snows
and gales of winter,
to cut my teeth on New England nor'easters
and fight the undeclared war against girls.
Middle child, only girl, small for my age.

Both brothers slept the porch in spring
took for granted the abundance
of our neighborhood, the visitors and friends,
the elms and hyacinths, maples and forsythias,
spring greens, yellows and new hues,
the migratory flocks parading back to northern homes.
Both boys read books, played quiet games
grew fat on father's favor.

I grew to a storm-wintered warrior child
sight practiced on bare lilac thicket,
schooled by wind in how the world sounds,
cries accompanied by blackbirds and jays,
layered against the elements.
Perhaps my skirmishes were attempts
to win that unwinable war
but I fought with the fury of calling,
battered brothers' enemies,
marshaled anger from hidden fronts
as I gave birth to myself.

The fabulous Fireblossom over at Imaginary Gardens with real Toads asked us to pick the favorite poem that we've written and repost it for Simply the Best. Mine was posted on 11/15/11.

15 November 2013


dang sister of mine
don't learn pays no mind
to me no matter
her life splatter

just trying to help her
trying to save her
from clutches dragging her down
too far before she drown

she don't care one whit
feels good gets lit
lit brings no damn good
been where she goin' by god

For the G-Man on Friday who has us write a story in 55 words.

13 November 2013


It started as a shower
like the final rinse at the car wash
but kept going for four days of storm,
streets awash, flowers destroyed, schools cancelled,
busses grounded, canoes used on Main Street.
Rain a sadness

catastrophic, the loss grieved
such that crying can't suffice,
enough to demand deluge and flood,
a leaving home, family, country, culture, language
in one swoop, marooned in the unfamiliar
with no way back, no way to tend the heart.

Peggy gave us photo prompts over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads and it's open link night at dVerse Poets Pub.

10 November 2013

First Bike

The first time I rode a bike
I flew- blue bike handed down from brother
too big with the bar across the middle, so I stood up to pedal
until my legs were long enough to sit the saddle.

I imagined me growing as I rode,
as I went where I wanted with only me to decide
on long summer days, returned when I was done,
forgot all else. When did I learn to balance? Did I eat?

I only rode, wind on my skin waking me up,
taking me away.

Mary over at dVerse Poets Pub has us writing about childhood toys.

08 November 2013

River Lee

When you were young I sang
a silly rhyme to make you smile:
Kelly Marie from the banks of the Lee,
Kelly Marie from the banks of the Lee.

37 years later, here I am in Cork
on the banks of the River Lee
as it flows around a bend, breaks
over rocks in its path and splashes

down a small waterfall at the turn.
The river reminds me of you, shows
your kind of purposeful strength, clips
quick- paced toward its ocean goal.

Like you, it's lovely
in this nature setting next to a park,
where branches overhang it, hear its murmers
before it crashes headlong to the city's edge.

You, too, found your flow, swim
gorges of swift- flowing rivers two continents from here
with your great, great grandmother's river in your DNA,
so sure a course, so far away.

Posted for my daughter, Kelly Marie, and in response to a prompt by Ed Pilolla over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads who gave us a word list on the theme of rivers. I'm currently visiting Cork, Ireland and staying at the River Lee Hotel. Hence the poem. Only a few years ago I learned my great grandmother and grandfather were from Cork. My daughter also did a semester abroad at University College Cork and has a photo of herself beside the River Lee.

04 November 2013

Dona Nobis Pacem

In the cave of every soul
we pray for peace,
our words sisters to silence.
Grant us peace,
all of us.
We are

Kerry over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads has linked to the annual Nov. 4th Blogblast 4 peace. What a good thing to focus our energies on furthering world peace. One voice at a time.

The View from My Balcony

Last night's sunset over the Majella Mountains:

This morning's sunrise over the Adriatic Sea:

With today sunny and in the 70's for my walk on the beach and warm memories from dinner last evening with good friends, I'm feeling grateful.

01 November 2013

The Gathering

For ten years we've met,
the young women of our family
with two crones.
We've committed to each other,
grown closer, become friends,
as have our children,
three generations set the compass for change
in our lives, doing now
what will benefit seven generations hence
and relishing the journey,
our lives spiraled into new constellations.

The women in the photo above (my daughter and nieces together with my sister-in-law and me) just celebrated one decade of gathering together each year, spouses and children welcome, but with time set aside just for us to gather in a circle and re-connect. I wrote about it previously here and here. This year the next generation decided to take over the organizing of the gathering and expand it. They have some wonderful ideas. One decade has ended. The next has begun.

Offered for the G-Man's Friday Flash 55.

29 October 2013

When Veil is Thin

When veil is thin between the worlds
candles set in windows swirl
to drive out darkness, bring the light,
welcome ancients, bless the unquiet
dead on their way. Realms unite, twirl

together, liminal time unfurled,
a crack between worlds, learned in oak- burled
woods from spirits this night outside time
when veil is thin.

Lives flow through currents of the soul hurled
from Source, otherworld wide open, curled
visions, elders and fairies- one tribe,
presage of winter shines lighted fires,
kindles kinds of knowledge between worlds
when veil is thin.

Offered for Open Link Night over at dVerse Poets Pub to celebrate the festival of Samhain, the start of the Celtic New Year. Tony Maude wrote a fine post on the rondeau on 24 October and I was inspired to write this in that form. I took the photo at sunset over a lake in my husband's cousin's back yard in County Clare, Ireland.

25 October 2013

Late October Light

October sun slants through french doors,
fills the front room with light
angled low for fall, catches the ceramic lamp
hand painted with Italian countryside,

provides what the artist attempted. A villa sits
illuminated on the river bank,
a man in a boat feels his heart quicken:
first glimpse of home glinted with evening glow.

Offered this late October evening in Italy for the G-Man for Friday Flash 55.

24 October 2013

Forgotten Language

Sprinkle rosemary liberally for memory
to bring back practices long forgotten.
The killing of wise women for generations
obliterated knowledge once common
of flowers, herbs, weeds used to foster health,
sometimes to cure, oft times to prevent, perhaps to sooth,
to ease birth and death, part of every life,
to leave us less alone in all we face.

Cast witch hazel around to conjure spells,
powerful spells to heal this old hatred of women,
their special powers, no longer burned at the stake
but raped, covered, silenced, denigrated
throughout the world, left with wormwood and yew.
We dance a lamentation around the aspen trees.
Sprinkle rosemary liberally for memory
and wave the willow as we mourn.

What oneness with flowers, bush or tree can restore
this healing power in the service of all? We'll surround
ourselves with zinnia, orange blossom and black poplar, bury
ourselves in persimmon until lilies fill our valleys and hazel trees bloom again.

Kerry, over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads has a fascinating bit of history and information to encourage us writing in the language of flowers.
For this poem: rosemary- remembrance, witch hazel- spells, wormwood- absence, yew- sorrow, aspen tree- lamentation, weeping willow- mourning, zinnia- thoughts of absent friends, orange blossom- woman's worth, black poplar- courage, persimmon- bury me amid nature's beauties, lily of the valley- return of happiness, hazel- reconciliation, peace.

21 October 2013


Straight lines
of stripped vines
pattern the hillside.
Leaves in fall colors,
all that's left after harvest,
fields bereft. Workers
make wine to last.

For Open Link Monday at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. Inspired what's happening in my little corner of the world and by Kerry's excellent post of Saturday on Tanka.

18 October 2013

Leafcutter Ant

You shouldered the leaf piece
seven times your size, marched
charted distances to your nest,
dropped it for inspection, already divorced
from the outcome- kept
or rejected. Another member marshals
leaf balance, the perfect number
of each to best grow fungus food.
You trudge forth to search
the next leaf fragment
offered to fungal cultivars.

Written in awe of leafcutter ants I saw in Trinidad's Northern Range Rain Forest who carry leaf parts to their nest to grow the fungus (true farmers) that feeds the colony. One I tracked carried an enormous piece he successfully deposited. Another ant inspects each leaf and accepts or rejects the piece based on the balanced needs of the fungus. Imagine carrying such a burden so far only to have it discarded?

The first photo shows a leaf cutter road that ran for 1/2 a mile. The second is the nest entrance. This nest was a mound 12-14 feet across. The third photo shows the ant I tracked under that long leaf piece.

It's all offered to the G-Man for Friday Flash 55.

06 October 2013


Grandmothers counsel the world,
touch the earth,
the lost land,
in a time of violence,
cry the beloved country.

Eternal echoes,
the celtic way of seeing,
the way of the shaman,
the education of the heart.

wise women,
(wisdom of the crone)
walk two moons,
fireflies in the dark-
heart of darkness.

I heard the owl call my name,
a grace disguised.
What color is my world?

I so enjoyed the prompt from Samuel at dVerse Poets on Oct. 4 that I kept going with more titles in my bookcase and a whole new topic.

Authors in order: Carol Schaefer, T.C.McLuhan, Eavan Boland (2), Alan Paton,  John O'Donohue, Frank MacEowen, Michael Harner, Thomas Moore, Nikki Giovanni, Joyce Tenneson, Field, Somerset and Phillips, Sharon Creech, Susan Goldman Rubin, Joseph Conrad, Margaret Craven, Jerry Sittser, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

04 October 2013

Baptism of Desire

Baptism of Desire

the spiral of memory,
a wrinkle in time,
sun under wood,
leaves of grass,
the wild iris,
the mist-filled path.

Hope was here
my mad love,
the heart aroused,
anam cara.

Ain't I a woman
yearning for the wind
in a different voice,
nothing left to lose,
outside history,
saved by a poem?

In response to Samuel over at dVerse Poets Pub who writes about the hidden poetry in books and asks us to use only the title of books to form a poem. It's tricky but I had a good time trying. And, since it's Friday, it's 55 words for the G-man. Anam cara is Irish for soul friend.
Authors in order of appearance: Louise Erdrich, Rosamund Lupton, Frank MacEowen, Madeleine L'Engle, Robert Hass, Louise Gluck, Walt Whitman, Louise Gluck, Joan Bauer, Shay Caroline Simmons, David White, John O'Donohue, Illona Linthwaite (editor), Tom Cowan, Carol Gilligan, Natasha Head, Eavan Boland, Kim Rosen

03 October 2013


Loss stoops
his parents' backs,
hollows their hearts,
birth and death
on the same day
despite their longing.
Grief's cloud layer
decks their souls,
strength borrowed
until resilience returns.

Written for my niece and her husband. From Patricia's word list about good neighbors over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. I took a different tack to acknowledge the importance of loved ones to rely on when things become too difficult. Words chosen: borrow, return, parents, birth, death, stoop, deck.

29 September 2013

Step So High

Use your stilts to step so high-
to the moon, to the sky,
and plug your lights
into the moon to shine them bright
anytime of day or night.

Wear your gown, fix your hair
climb something taller than a chair,
capture light from nature's moon
so its not gone quite so soon
and all can use it to swoon or spoon.

Women do this, girls can too.
Maybe, one day, even you.
Set your goals high, lofty as the sky
so if you should fail you'll still fly
to places few will go but you'll know why.

For Claudia at dVerse Poets Pub who had us writing to the artwork of Catrin Welz-Stein. This piece of hers, Where the Starlight Begins, seems the perfect illustration for a children's book which inspired this poem.

27 September 2013

We are Pilgrims

We are Pilgrims. We travel
disparate trails, leave
one name behind, take on a new one
for a new epoch,
leave behind what's no longer needed,
make room for something new.
Wisdom is knowing what to leave,
what to take on.
We search a different path
as we re-name ourselves.
What name will I release?

For Victoria at dVerse Poets Pub who asks us to write on a difficult subject using imagery or metaphor. This place of transition and not knowing is what's difficult for me just now. This metaphor was inspired by a talk I heard by David Whyte who says we are more marvelous in our simple wish to find the way than in what way we find. I like that. And it's 55 words for the G-man.
(photo was taken on a hike at Campo Imperatore)

25 September 2013

We're Future Sailors

We're future sailors ready for voyage
to future places, for the discovery a sea brings,
for breezes that push us to lost sites,
castaways but with the familiarity of all things

within our DNA to be discovered anew
in this time, our time, present now
even as we shape our future, prepared to sail strange
ships with mates who themselves avow

they're sailors, too. We find each other
seek each other out, drawn to those who search maps,
test winds and speak of adventures that sketch
the outlines of a life, content despite the gaps.

For Izy at Real Toads who has us writing out of standard using a line from an original Boosh song. You have to check this out to understand! And for open link night at dVerse Poets Pub.
Photo taken on the Grand Canal during a recent trip to Venice.

24 September 2013

So Much has Changed

The windows are open since the temps are warm this September. I'm sitting looking at the verdant hills surrounding me and taking stock of all the has happened since my last post. I guess I needed a break to digest and integrate it. The biggest change is that my Honey and I put our Italian apartment/ condo on the market after nearly five years living here. We plan to move back to the states once it sells and relocate to Jacksonville, FL. The decision bubbled up after our vacation there in July/ August, being with family and having our grands (now 11 and 7 1/2) on our own for two weeks.

The easy reason to point to is the realization that I'm too far away from those who mean the most to me. Add to that the growing surety that Italians, as much as I have felt welcomed by them, enjoyed them and learned important life lessons from them, are not my tribe. I'm ready to volunteer in something I find meaningful and I'd like to have options that fit my skills, my perspectives, and can be expressed and understood without translation, figuratively and literally speaking. I might be able to shape such an endeavor here but it seems more monumental than I'd like at this time in my life. When I think about where I'd like to grow old and die, I know in my heart of hearts it's not here.

Sinking down a level, I want to be where those around me reflect the diversity in my own family. I want my family to feel at home when they visit, feel met and mirrored, feel comfortable. In my immediate family that means more people of color, bi-racial couples and mixed race kids. In my extended family it means more openly, comfortably gay individuals and couples and more complex families with fostered, adopted, blended and special needs kids. More basically, I'd like to be where my extended family can afford to visit. I cherish the diversity in my own family and I want to have that around me day to day.

There's more, I suspect, in the inner restlessness and eagerness to be living differently, more authentically. I, nonetheless, feel surprised by this change. I was going along feeling happy and delighted and then I wasn't. Makes me sad given how much I've loved living here and the good friends I've made. How does this just change from one day to another?

                                            (photo by Grazian Romanelli of our city and its dragon)

10 July 2013

Three Things I Know to be True

I'm keeping it simple right now.
In this whirlwind getting ready to travel
I'm down to basics- what
do I know? It's this: the pull
of family tugs harder as I get older.
The desire to be together with them
is a physical yearning. And,
I'm in awe of John who
easily organizes the most complex
of itineraries and writes the lists
that get all the last minute things
done. These three things
I know to be true.

Seems like it should be more.
I miss writing
more and reading blogs
that have become important to me.
But here I am, preparing to travel
six time zones to be with my family
and it's all I can manage.

I leave today for a month in the states and have been struck at how much time, effort, planning and energy expenditure happens before ever leaving. I hope to post photos of the high points of our stay, maybe even get the grands involved in documenting our time together. I'm eager...

03 July 2013

Seize and Savor

Vacations these days mean time carved
with daughter and the grands
and sometimes just the grands.
Suits me now since they, too, want this.
Time will come when they won't,

so seize and savor is my motto.
Seize time with them, savor them
each time. Know that change
comes on any random day
and the chance is gone.

This is in response to Words Count with Mama Zen's prompt over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads to write about vacations in less than 60 words. Her timing is remarkable since I leave in 7 days on vacation to join my daughter and two grands for 3 1/2 weeks (2 of those with just the grands) in Florida. Time to seize and savor.

02 July 2013

Boston, Princesses, and Brave Heroines

“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one's skin, at the extreme corners of one's eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.”
                                                               (Maya Angelou- from her book: Letter to My Daughter)

My home coordinates lie in Boston.
History and the sea set the backdrop
that grew me up.
The sea fed me
as father brought home fresh catch from Boston's docks since fish was cheaper than meat
and lobster was called poor man's food back then. Fed me in other ways, too,
having more to do
with things mulled, decided, wanted
while watching its rhythms. A gentle teacher, a harsh
teacher, a strict teacher in immutable laws learned
through osmosis and frequent contact. History was repeated
each grade, at home, museums and trails toured
often, father and teachers as tour guides. Birthplace
of the Nation, central to all that came to be. Growing
up poor in Boston set one scenario absorbed early and uncensored at subliminal levels.
Moving later to an affluent area set another and stood in contrast
even to my child mind. The wrench of a ten year old moving from scores
of playmates in a housing project, the freedom of unlimited places to go, people to watch,
things to do. Suburbs look nicer but restrict playmates and places, set up
different expectations. On me. Quit being a scrapper, be a lady. Ladylike prescribed
by the catholic school I went to and the unmarried aunts with whom I lived. A starker
contrast to the Boston housing project is hard to imagine. I never judged the projects harsh,
simply my world. I felt at home. A world rich in colorful folks who knew
how to take care of themselves
and business. Fought for what they thought was right. Or to protect. Fought a lot. Taught
me to fight. I'm not talking figuratively here but physically. Real fights, vanquishing evil fights.
Or so it seemed. I had no time for fairy tale princesses in those days, before Brave,
even with red hair, freckles and Scottish ancestry. But Merida would have been my heroine,
my kind of gal - a wild, witches consulting, shooting arrows at enemies, all in, redefining,
no limits just because we're girls,
fully alive on her own terms kind of gal.

This is in response to Mary over at dVerse Poets who asked us to write about with a Disney theme way back on Saturday but which I missed. So I'm doing it for open link Tuesday since it really got me thinking.

01 July 2013

Some Things That Happened in June

New plants on the balcony with clouds sitting on them.

Lunch with good friends to celebrate a birthday.

A new tablecloth with colors of the Italian countryside to brighten the balcony.

A new (to us) view of Cittá Sant'Angelo, our fair city

A new home for the bougainvillea so it can eventually tumble over the railing

New scents mingling on our balcony from new placement of jasmine, lavender and rosemary in proximity

Herbs and hot peppers thriving on the other end of the balcony. The basil is post- harvesting of two huge batches for pesto.

An old olive tree with new trim for its leaves located not far from our house.

Discovering new places with an old friend in Luxembourg Gardens, Paris.

Post- pruning magnificence of the coleus and its myriad colors.

New blooms on the plant who loves the light if not the sun and lives indoors next to the french doors.

I'm marveling at and enjoying the abundance of summer in my little corner of the world. How about you?

28 June 2013

L'Aquila Four Years Later

L'Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo, where I live, experienced a 5.8 earthquake in 2009 . The epicenter was close to this ancient and beautiful city and left 300 dead and 40,000 homeless as well as a devastated city center that remains closed to residents to this day. It's hard to imagine how large and elegant L'Aquila was and the extent of the disaster for residents, students at he university and for the economy of the province. Then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi vowed to reconstruct this vital city in six months. Four years later, the only work done is the placement of scaffolding around the buildings.

On a recent visit I marveled at some intact structures or facades while all around was damaged.

There's a heartbreaking photo posted of some of the caskets from a joint funeral.

And handwritten notes left by former patrons on the door of a favorite cafe now closed.

One of the churches had scaffolding on the inside as well and was open to visitors.

It's hard to grasp the enormity of the loss of this capital, this historical and cultural center, this educational and commercial center. It's hard to see it left in this state of abeyance. It has the third largest piazza in Italy as just one of its many piazzas and elegant buildings and villas among its historic places.

Tours are now given to witness the devastation. I could see glimpses into houses, their doors ajar with dishes on the table and photos on the shelves. Residents have not been allowed back. Lives suspended.

There's no shortage of finger pointing to assign blame in the lack of progress in reconstruction. But it's the more personal side of this enormous loss that was evident at every turn. This large and formerly lovely city, the province's capital, with no people. Add this to the strangely elaborate scaffolding and it was eerie and profoundly unsettling.