I am writing this from a green metal table in the Magical Garden, overlooking the Mediterranean sea, a few feet from my little house.
Today is my last day in Pisciotta.
I arrived in this small village a month ago, and it felt as though I had landed at the end of the world. It was dark, I was alone, and I spent that first night in a fit of allergies, not sure what was below my way-up window.
In the morning, there she was. Miles and miles of her dear familiar blueness. Lit up by the early sun, the Mediterranean sea wished me good morning, and she told that all would be well. Because she is one of my three moms, I believed her.
The following thirty days have been beautiful, difficult, rich, lonely, peaceful and humbling.
Me who thought that left alone I would write pages of insightful and useful stuff, I found out that alone, I sat a lot. And walked a lot. And ate. And walked some more.
Me who came here hoping for Connection, it took me a couple of weeks to let the most important Connection of all come through: the Connection with me.
Me who thought that I would be relieved to leave when the time came, my heart is actually very tender, today.
Pisciotta, thank you.
Thank you for teaching me what I did not think I had come here to learn.
Thank you for being so heartbreakingly beautiful that even when I did not want to see your gifts, I could not help myself.
Thank you for your stairs and hills.
Thank you for your people, most of which looked at me strangely, thus giving me the gift of feeling like a stranger, a gift which I believe will come in handy in the next few weeks.
Thank you for introducing me to one of the most graceful women I know, even though I could not communicate with her as much as I wanted to. Thank you for her Limoncello and the tiny cups of dessert she gave me.
Thank for for giving me a place to painfully get in touch with how much I need Community and Connection, and thus giving me the courage to ask for it, and to create it in the very future (more on this very soon)
Thank you for the smile from the grocery man, often the only smile I saw for days, and somehow it was enough.
Thank you also, for showing no signs of commercial holiday madness, just a few weeks away from Christmas. Thank you for being so real, so very classy on the inside in your somewhat gruff outsideness.
This morning, I walked over to the Wednesday market, where most people still looked at me sideways, I saw your men talking with each other, I saw your mozzarella with that special branch on top of it, I saw the square, the many cats. I walked your tiny streets, I heard your beautiful language, and the whole time I said thank you, thank you, thank you.
Tomorrow, my backpack and I will walk the 4km to the train station, and you will be tucked in there safely, because you are in my heart forever, and I know that my gratefulness will ripen with time.
PS: Elephant Journal published (and edited a bit) a story I wrote about how my backpack and I got to be friends. Here it is . I think you may enjoy it.
My new book