It is remarkable to think, the braids of fate that led me here. Up these Roman steps, past prehistoric geckos padding stone. A life of constellations but so often we wander through the dark and can’t connect the dots. Perhaps it is just the country that brings me peace here, a simpler way to live. For life itself is not much different in the States. Maybe on trips like this we are more aware of how much time we have left. I reread a collection of poems by a poet approaching the end of his life, but I’m not sure why I gravitate towards themes like this—perhaps because the soil is rich. I pocketed an acorn shell to be reminded of my walks here through the forest. The caps fit the acorn tight like a hat, like the Tyrolean ones we kept in the upper bedrooms and wore to beer festivals with pins and feathers. I would regain my love of writing here by remembering. By giving thanks to all the beauty around me. And follow the stream to where it lets out so I would know the way for next time.
I took a long, new way home. It got hot and I had no water but fed on the orchard apples and plums, my hands sticky with stolen grapes. I followed the navigator on my phone down dirt paths and gravel roads, just the sound of birds and far-away tractor engines. Trying to stop time, to stop myself within it. All this smashed fruit on the ground turning brown. I wanted to be back in Tuscany that August when the kids were so small, the fallen figs got stuck in my sandal treads. It was like flipping through pages in a photo book. A leaning red ladder against a tree, the breeze making the leaves swoosh, the sound of an apple hitting the ground like a snowball. All those rows of grapevines, the little brick huts with tiled roofs where they keep their buckets and tools. How they cut the dried vines back and bundle them for kindling when the harvest is done. How I would remember the times we emerged here in November when it was time to go and all was shades of brown and gray and wet.
And when it is my time, I’ll watch the countryside blur as the train whisks away and smile, remembering I was here.