San Pellegrino in Alpe is a mountain town in the Apennines, in Tuscany, Italy. It is beautiful and serene with amazing views everywhere you look. The fresh mountain air is soothing and invigorating; I could have stayed much longer than we did, just breathing it all in and enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature. I also happened to eat the best (homemade, of course) ravioli ever in the most charming restaurant/inn. If anyone plans to venture out in that direction, let me know and I’ll give you the information – you won’t regret it. You’ll fall in love with both the delectable meal and the breathtaking views. As with the gelato, however, I have no photos of the ravioli. Yes, I was too busy eating and enjoying. But I have many photos of the views, mountains and forest walks…I’ll let them convince you.
Today has been spectacular. You would think it was a spring day, not a winter’s day. The sky is a solid beautiful blue, with small lazy clouds floating across, mingling with the fluffy contrails. I am sitting outside as I write this, enjoying the mellow temperatures and the golden light of late afternoon. A bee buzzes above my head; is that normal for the middle of winter? Who’s to say what’s normal and what’s not anymore with this crazy weather!
When I went for a short walk before sitting down to write this, I walked past the little forest behind our building. All those dry leaves covering the ground remind me of a book I loved when I was a kid. It was set in Wales and intertwined the lives of modern day boy and a bard of ancient myths. When the author described scenes in the forest, that is how I imagined it. Dry leaves scattered everywhere, broken branches on the forest floor, and meandering creeks leaving serpentine trails. How wondrous a combination a good book and the imagination can be.
Our forest is partly in shambles due to earlier weather transgressions, with large branches and entire trees lying across the ground. I don’t mind; I quite like it actually. It gives the forest more character. Seeing those fallen trees, the trunks making fabulous bridges, I wish I was a child again. I would be climbing all over them if I was still a little girl. I was forever scrambling over rocks, dangling from trees, and constantly getting cuts, scrapes and bruises. It was wonderful. We would make up stories and tales; we would fight to protect the fortress or run away to escape the evil wizard (or king, or whatever they were!). We would build homes, walls, our fortress. We collected sticks, rocks, moss, flowers…Whatever we needed to construct and embellish the fort. It was better than wonderful. Do kids still do that nowadays? I haven’t seen any playing in the forest…
I could go do that now and pretend to be a kid again, but pretending just isn’t the same as the real thing. The mind doesn’t work the same as an adult. Imagination isn’t as real or as sharp; we’re too self-conscious and anchored in reality. The carefree attitude we had is gone; we’re too cautious and careful. But we don’t have to be like that, just because we’ve ‘grown-up’. We shouldn’t lose our sense of wonder, our imagination and our capacity to play, just because we’re adults.
I still get giddy and excited when I see snowflakes falling from the sky. I love a good snowball fight, making snow angels, letting myself fall in the snow, or just eating freshly fallen snow. One of my favorite things to do at the beach is build a sandcastle – a long standing family tradition. It doesn’t matter how old we get, my brother and I will always have splashing fights in the pool. I love those moments.
Maybe I should go climb those trees. Even if I just sit there on the trunk and imagine the stories I could play out, that’s already something. I should grab my husband and have him climb with me and sit beside me. Maybe those will be our weekend plans – to just be kids again.