“The patron saint of armourers, artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because of her old legend’s association with lightning, and also of mathematicians.”
Thick with humidity, the skies unleashed torrential, awe-inspiring rain, thunder and lightening. Our first morning, we woke at 4am jet-lagged, and realizing we would have to move to a more accessible apartment – 500 year old (or more?) Roman steps too daunting. But we had to wait out the storm, and it was glorious. Lightening even struck right in the square below our open window.
But Santa Barbara loomed above, protecting us. We laughed, drank espresso and ate sweet, fresh pastries gathered by Paolo (during a tiny window of less rain) and the dismay of wrong lodgings faded away, replaced by excitement.
Do not even ask about the Zebra.
At exactly the right time…sun…and the streets dried in minutes. Off we went, just around the corner – home Rome with a lift.
Nope, not business class. But Ladies on Scooters with Escorts get assistance to bypass every huge meandering line of poor sweaty people just trying to get checked in or through security. Hours of misery. Max reminded us, and sure enough it was like the seas parted. As good as Gold.
I was nervous to leave the scoot at the plane door, but in we got.
Lisa and Max – Paolo is in the other isle seat across from me. I am well protected.
All was well, and my scooter awaited me in Frankfurt – but then the Mis-Adventures began. After a four hour layover, we again boarded – this time to Rome…
Lufthansa Captain: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have landed and are at the Terminal – but the person in control of the docking mechanism is not here. they say it will be a few minutes. (pause) I don’t know what “a few minutes” is in Italy.”
Sure enough, no scoot. A Tall thin paramedic angel named Francesca pushed me for miles in a wheelchair and the intrepid Paolo finally tracked it down. In one piece.
Off we trooped, found our pick-up, had a fight with him, made up, and sped out to the city – – and my eyes, bleary eyes, grew wide with sights of Roman walls, tall pines and earthy coloured buildings – all troubles were forgotten when we arrived in Campo de’ Fiori…
I have been talking about sketching in Janet and Robert’s garden for awhile now, and we made it happen today. I rattled over the country roads and up a steep drive on my beast of a ShopRider, basket full of sketch stuff. I thought I might spend a couple of hours, drawing the clusters of grapes on the arbor, but it turned into a most wonderful afternoon – the three of us gathered around a still-life of freshly picked things, either from their garden or a local stand.
We had food and a shade umbrella and the blue sky was streaked with horsetail clouds.
Five lovely hours we all sat and drew, the murmur of India Runner ducks in the background.
So delightfully peaceful.
Even though my mind is moving toward Italy, I haven’t ignored this beautiful coast summer. I have spent pleasant hours on my pretty back deck, enjoying my flower filled pots and O’Keeffe inspired wall art.
I scooted to the Roberts Creek pier and had a fine 2 hours of sketching the copper roofed house across the creek.
But the best day of all was when instead of going up the lane back home, I unexpectedly turned the shoprider down towards the lookout at the end of my road and started a sketch of the view. Suddenly, I heard a huge whooshing blow – a woman on the beach below started yelling “The Whale!! The Whale!!” so I peeled out to a more open point and there it was. Or at least there was the spray and a huge hump of a grey back, moving slowly, following the tide line toward Sechelt.
I could feel it – I’m sure.
A great day indeed.
That is what my friend Marlene told me, and I have been fully embracing the pre-trip.
I had to think of something which would hold my attention, and keep my excitement from spilling over into anxiety – because I know myself. I can get… squirrelly. So, I have made up a crazy project for myself. I am filling one of my beautiful Kim Oka encaustic journals with sketches of details from Renaissance paintings, mostly of those that I could possibly see in Italy – but I am using ballpoint pens. And a bit of watercolour. Thats it.
Then, I am scanning these sketches and printing them out as postcards, which I will take with me.
While I am casually relaxing in a piazza with a tiny white cup filled with thick espresso, or perhaps a nice glass of jewel red Chianti, I will write my Deep Thoughts on them and send them back home to myself embellished with beautiful Italian stamps. This lovely dream is keeping my hands busy and my anxiety levels manageable.
Two more weeks……….
My ticket is booked and paid for. I say these words to myself, (and to pretty much anyone else I can pin down) with emotions that streak from thrill to fear in seconds. This MS woman is going to Italy. The dogged determination and kindness of friends will drag my wobbly ass across the ocean to the country that has filled my mind and heart with wonder since my days at Cap College under the spell of the Goddess of Art History, my friend Josephine. So missed.
Julie: “Listen. You have to come. This might be the last time…. I mean… ah… erm… This will be an awesome trip and we will all be there to… uh… Well, you are coming. That’s that.”
I think of past large scale paintings I have done, and present intimate journal sketching I am doing. Ambitions at the mercy of body. I remember my New Year’s resolution – Fear out – Faith in. Holy Crap, it is working. Could I really do it?
I laugh….. I suspect she is a little wrong, though. I think this trip will be the first. If I can’t belly up to the big canvasses just yet, I have other dreams to pursue.
I have Carnets des Voyages to fill. :)
I’m looking at images from the Italian Renaissance again, with my ballpoint pens and a light wash of housepaint for the background.
Lots of of other sketches coming up too, I’ve been busy. :)