Monday, June 7, 2010

A Day of Repose… and Ciliegie

I generally do not post things beyond those related to design, creativity, etc. But, yesterday was a special day. I think I came out of it realizing how important 'down time' is, to help keep us energized. So, I share my day.

Yesterday, Sunday, I was able to experience a day of rest. It had been a long time coming, but maybe that is what made it so special. An Italian family that befriended me on my last trip here to Verona invited me to join them on a trip to their villa in the countryside. The plan was to pick le ciliegie (cherries). How could one refuse; I was delighted.

So, Cecelia, Gianni and Guido picked me up at the arranged location and time, and off we went. The villa supports two homes; one lived in by Cecelia’s brother, and the other owned by Cecelia and her family. The land that the homes rest on is used to grow grapes, olives, and of course, cherries, and it is located outside of Verona in the Vapolicella district (this is a well-known wine). The weather was perfect; sunshine, and a gentle breeze.

Upon arrival, we gathered baskets of various types, and commenced to pick. I was introduced to la scala (which means ladder). The one I used was antico (old). The cherries were at a perfect point in ripeness; deep red, sweet, and delicious. I had to break the rhythm of two in the basket, one in the mouth, lest I regret this approach later with a stomach-ache.

Soon friends arrived to assist in the picking, and a friendly banter of Italian filled the air. I understood some of what was being said, but typically, the Italians speak so fast, it is hard to follow. Little by little, our baskets began to fill, and a few hours later, we had more than enough.

Guido led me on a walk through the grape vines, to the family homes down the hill. I felt like I was in scene from a movie. The garden was beautiful, as was the home of Cecelia’s brother and his wife. Soon, we gathered together at a table under a tree, for lunch. Il primo piatto (first dish) was pasta, with a fresh tomato and olive sauce. I have learned, in the Italian way, that one should never eat too much of any dish, lest there be more, and surely, there was il secondo piatto , which was roasted chicken laid over roasted potatoes. Home-made bread complemented the meal, and of course there was wine, cake, and coffee.

Tranquility is the best word I can use to describe the moments that surrounded our afternoon. After conversations slowed, family members each found a place to rest and contemplate their thoughts. Guido and I chatted for a long time, but even I finally succumbed to a chaise lounge to actually experience my moments of rest, which is of course, are what Sundays are supposed to be about.

As I lay there, quietly, I could not help think back to my youth. I still remember, that one Sunday per summer, my family would pack up and go to Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes, in Ontario, Canada.. We would spend the morning picking cherries, so that later in the week we could preserve them in various ways, to last us through the winter. After our hours of work, we would then go to the beach, and spend the rest of the day in the water. One did not mind the work of picking cherries, as the reward was sand, water, and sunshine.

So, many years later, this day of my youth repeated itself. The scenery and family changed, but the activities were generally the same. This all reminds me, that it does not matter where we are in the world, there are always activities that remain unchanged through time, location, and form. I am pleased to have been reminded of those, and I am happy to have shared it with those of you who read this blog.

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