I tell people that I go to Florence to walk around with God. That is what I do, but not all the time. Sometimes, in fact very often, I think about food and what and where I will eat. Even that can be prayerful. It’s all about intention, which brings me to the three meals in which Jesus participated: The wedding at Cana, the Last Supper, and the Supper at Emmaus. I love when I come across paintings of these meals with Jesus. Once I started looking for such scenes, the began started appearing. Today two appeared at the Uffizi. Little gems. Enjoy!
Luca Signorelli’s Last Supper (circa 1510) is part of a panel that depict the supper and what followed.
Then there is the Supper at Emmaus (circa 1560-65) by a less well-know artist, Simone Peterzano.
I’m at my favorite writing cafe—the one with the art work of Santo Spirito on the wall. I’ve showed it before! There are about seven sitting areas in this little room where families, friends and single people come and go. Today an old man came with his dog. As he sat down, the plate with his croissant slipped from his hand, fell to the floor and broke. Not missing a beat, he pick it all up, enjoyed the croissant, his gave his dog a loving pat, cleared the table, as is the custom here, and took the broken plate to the bar.
I am in awe of his ease and enjoyment of the moment:
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
I’m reminded of what Ranier Marie Rilkie tells us:
Have patience with everything
unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves.
The point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
I don’t know my question, but this man has helped me live into the answer. One of the reasons I travel solo is for these opportunities to live the questions.
This morning I made my usual pilgrimage to the Convent of San Marco where the most beautiful Fra Angelico paintings (newly restored) are displayed, and where one can walk along the corridors of the monk’s cells. The time in history is fifteen century Renaissance Florence.
If you have been following my blog for a few years you’ve seen these pictures of Fra Angelico’s frescoes before—perhaps many times. I can’t resist making this one of my first stops upon arriving in the city, and I can’t help but take the same pictures each time, even though I have the same scenes archived from times before.
It is silent here, but life is present; a man is sitting with his aging mom; pigeons are scouring the ground; an attendance is picking up paper and keeping the place tidy.
Ah, but now I hear a siren; a boy and his mom are examining the book boxes place along path; they have sat on a nearby bench to read a story.
Since I was here in March, much is back to normal in Florence: no masking up; no showing vaccine cards; easier entry to churches and museums; tourists and natives are walking the city with joy and ease.
And there are some changes, too. Prices on food and drink have gone up—a cappuccino by 10 cents a cup. Of course the euro has moved in my favorite. One euro now equals one dollar, not $1.20. I figure it all equals out; I’m happy to help the economy.
But one thing hasn’t changed: I’m grateful to be here, to walk around with joy.
Here I am, three days before my flight to Rome. I have an overnight flight, which means that in four days I’ll be on an hour and a half train ride through Tuscany to Florence. When I step out of the Santa Maria Novella train station and walk by the Church of Santa Maria Novella, I’ll have a ten minute walk to my apartment overlooking the Church of Santa Maria dei Fiori, which we locals call Il Duomo.
I’ve taken so many pictures of all these sights. Do I need to bring my camera? Except for a change of season, or a photos of years ago, no one will be able to tell when I snapped what I post. But I will take my camera (it’s also my phone) and I will snap and post.
We all know that an important part of a trip is the anticipation. So anticipate with me as I share previous pictures.
I watched the service for the Queen at St. Giles Cathedral today. The scene was familiar, well somewhat, because I’ve walked the Royal Mile many times, and have attended at least three Sunday services at St. Giles. I can picture where the Royal Family sat, where the choir was located, and the placement of the casket. That circle you may have noticed in the center was where I stood to receive communion, maybe in June 2015.
I hope those who watched, regardless of their faith, heard the message expressing the way the Queen did her best to reign—be honest, loving, and fair to all people.
Since my last post, less than a week ago, life has continued to happen. My older sister became a year older; my niece celebrated a wedding anniversary; teeming rain eliminated any possibility of a walk; my husband and I voted in the Massachusetts democratic primary; and I’ve finally found a good novel to read.
Clearly no third-world problems to be solve here! However, a ONE-WORLD problem going on. I woke up in the middle of the night upset about all the lying whirling about in the world, lying that is undemocratic, unreligious and inhuman. ALL religions have the message of love at their core. Why can’t we get together on that?
What is so rare as a day in June? I know, I know, it’s September, but those two months are always bookends to my summer books.
This book end to summer brings memories of school days. As a child I stood at the end of the driveway with my older sister, waiting for the school bus. Each of us in a new dress—no pants back then! Fast forward to my days teaching kindergarten. The kindergarten bus took about as much planning and energy as did all that went on in the classroom and on the playground.
My book ends are still holding up my summer books, with, I note, more non-fiction this year. From my window I can watch the school bus stop and then drive on; but my thoughts don’t travel to school. I relax and get on with the day, the month, autumn. Today: visit my 102 year old friend, Ruth. This month: off to Florence. Autumn: church activities, family visits, and maybe I’ll get back to reading fiction.
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