The last few days have been important. I guess maybe important is the pretty way of saying difficult. Coming back to the village after spending some time in Naples with my son really allowed me to see that this place, as stunningly magnificent as it is, has not been very friendly towards me. Nothing overt, just this weird thing that makes people not smile back when I say Buongiorno to them. I mean... go ahead and try it. Have someone say hello to you, and try not to smile back, if only a little. Can you do that? My face can’t seem to do that. Here, it’s an art form. Not towards each other, it seems. But towards me. Many times a day (with the exception of the mozzarella man. He smiles at me and so I have been buying mozzarella a lot).
This is a small village, this is a very old village, and I may be the only person walking around who was not born here. I think I get it.
And really, for a while it was ok.
I needed space and I had settled into a peaceful sense of isolation, a deeper leaning into my self and I loved the sweetness of that. But after a few weeks, after a little break where I got to dance the tango in a loud Neapolitan family’s kitchen while the pasta cooked, I came back up here and I realized that I’d had it. Mostly, I realized that no matter how much I love and need solitude, I really thrive on some level Community.
So first, I really felt it. The yearning, the deep desire to be a contributing part of something. It did not feel good, mostly because I had no clue how to achieve that. Out of my window, miles of blue water and acres of olive trees. Most of them already picked.
Following my kids’ advice, I put up a profile on Workaway.com which is a really cool organization, especially if unlike me, you have carpentry skills. I contacted a few potential hosts and the lack of response was impressive. So, I went on a walk. A long walk. High up above the water and among lots of olive trees and the reddish colored grape vines. I talked with myself, I forgave myself for not being a very good hermit, nor a carpenter, I reminded myself that a gift was on its way, that I was okay. That it was perfect. I huffed and I puffed up these crazy hills and I finally made my way home right before dark.
And there, in my inbox, was an email from the Workaway site. A woman, around my age and sounding both funny and lovely. A woman who had found me and was hoping I could come stay with her for a while and “help her figure out what to do with this house of hers,” as well as maybe “help her with the synergy of her little community.” No plastering walls, no cleaning toilets, no hammers involved at all. Basically she was asking me to come stay with her and do ... what I do. Within a few of hours she and I made a plan. And in a couple of weeks, after having spent some yummy time with my kids, I am going to go check out this COMMUNITY of hers and I am pretty sure, meet a new friend.
Man, this life thing is powerful. And even more so when we let ourselves fall down once in a while.
Because I know it is coming to an end, I am now fully enjoying the last few paragraphs of this chapter, up here on the roof of the world. I am soaking up the quiet, the hours, the sun waking me up from over the hill, the lighthouse (the second longest light in Italy, mind you) illuminating the channel between Naples and Sardinia - and my room - every 5 seconds, all of it, the time to write. I have a feeling that when I get home, these weeks will have become some of my most cherished memories. Funny how that works.
Thank you for being on this trip with me. I know that all this stuff I am dancing with - the really great and the less great - is part of what we all do, as our big human family.
And because of this, in a way we are never truly alone.
My new book