I leave for Italy in less than two weeks. I’ve been cramming my head with as much Roman history as I can. To that end I was in the library last night picking up a book on Celtic myth and art- yes, the Celts have a long history in Italy. I like to know what my peeps were up to back in the day, in Rome. 🙂 I pulled the book I wanted off the shelf, and knocked another off in the process. Weirdly, it was Eat, Pray, Love. I may well be one of the few women in North America who has not read said book. I am one of those perverse souls who, when a book/show/movie is uber-popular will not read/watch it. I chalk it up to the mulish stubborn suspicious nature of my ancestors- if everyone likes it that much, it can’t be good. But I had watched a TED talk with the author of Eat, Pray, Love a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. She was witty, funny, humble and had some ideas on creativity and the muses that I am pondering weeks later. So I’m reading it. I already finished the section in Italy. It’s funny and just good. I am fine with eating crow when it’s tasty. 🙂
I read a section this morning that talked about the one word that you feel describes you- not your appearance, or your job or your social status- YOU- your soul if you will. Just the words that come up first, before you censor or self-deprecate or criticize yourself. Mine were Seek and Transcendence. I am always seeking those moments of transcendence, where time stops and the everyday world melts away for a few seconds and you forget your corporeal self, and live in your spirit. We all seek those moments in a variety of ways- in nature, in our children, in the simple play of light across water, in something you’ve seen a million times and never really noticed- and then suddenly you do and it’s never the same for you- it’s been transformed, it has transcended to a different place in your spirit.
The roses are blooming here in Brigadoon. The wild ones, as they do, bloomed first and now have shed their petals in a translucent pink carpet on the grass verges of my daily walk. They remind me of how swiftly time passes- for roses, for dogs (I have an old girl who isn’t doing so well these days) and for, of course, we humans. That’s why we have to snatch at those moments of transcendence as often as they present themselves.
Now to that Dying Gaul, there’s an image of him just below this post. I wanted to post it within the body of the post but WordPress has swallowed three versions of this blog and so I don’t dare try to post the same way again. I’ve seen images of this statue many times over the years, and the impact never lessens, even through the watered down lens of a computer screen. I can’t explain what it is about this dying marble warrior that so pulls me, but he actually makes my heart ache just to look at him. He is on my list of ‘must sees’ in Rome. I can only imagine what it will be like to stand there looking at him in the flesh, or marble as it were. 🙂 He makes me think of my favourite scene in the HBO series ROME- where Vercingetorix (leader of the Gauls) is brought in chains to kneel before Caesar. (How ironic that Caesar is played by the lovely Irish actor Ciaran Hinds). I don’t know why I say favourite scene really, because it makes me cry and makes me furious. The first time I watched it I cried enough that my husband gave me one of those sideways looks that asks a question without words. I said, ‘It’s just that someone has always been making us kneel before them thinking they were superior to us.’ He looked at the wild-haired, naked barbarian on screen, looked at me and wisely chose to say nothing. I figure he was either noting the similarities- wild Celt hair and rebellious nature ending in disaster, or thinking ‘what exactly does she think her and her hard-nosed Prod ancestors have in common with this man?’
So I will go to the land of the Romans, the Florentines, the Venetians and seek those moments of transcendence- in the soaring cathedral of Brunelleschi, the bronze lions of St. Mark’s, in a twilight ride down a canal in Venice, in the holding pen of the gladiators beneath the Colosseum and in the eyes of a dying warrior. I will seek those connections where I feel with every cell that I am one petal in one bead on the unending rosary of humankind.
I will also seek it by drinking sunshine (also known as limoncello) and tasting every flavour of gelato I can manage before my Lactaid runs out. 🙂