Where's your happy place? When I'm having a tough day, I close my eyes and think about Tuscany. Over the last twenty years, I've had the great blessing to visit this wonderful part of Italy many times. If I were rich, I'd have an apartment in Florence overlooking the Piazza della Signoria. Almost always noisy and crowded with tourists, I'd love to set my alarm to go off in the middle of the night.
Then I could look out my window and in my mind's eye see Michelangelo sliding his David into place in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Hit the fast forward button and I could just as easily watch retreating German soldiers racing through the streets, blowing up all the bridges except the Ponte Vecchio on their way out, Allied soldiers hot on their tail.
Places like Florence have seen the good and the bad of the human experience. One generation flows into the next, over and over again. Places like Florence remind me that there's a lot to savor in our short lives. Whether its sights or food or friends and family, it's great to have experiences that we can dream about when we're having an off day.
I still remember a dinner I had with a group of young friends in a trattoria in the Oltrarno section of Florence, way back when the dollar was strong against the lira. I can still taste the Bistecca alla Florentina (grilled steak) served with balsamic vinegar and rock salt I had that night. On that trip, we bought everything we wanted. Things were cheap and Americans popular. My, how quickly things have changed.
I also remember the bowls of Ribollita (thick vegetable soup) my mom, sister, and I ate one cold, damp day on another trip.
I will never forget coming upon the lesser known sculptures of Michelangelo known as the Four Prisoners (Quattro Prigioni), incomplete carvings which validate his thought that "God has put the figure in the stone, I just chip away the excess."
I could go on and on. Obviously, I dream a lot :)
So, where's your happy place? What do you dream about when you're having one of those days?
Now that I'm thinking about it, I hope we all have a lot of happy places to choose from :)