Learning to Relax

I am a list maker. I can’t get through my day-to-day life without them, experiencing an exquisite thrill as I check off each to-do. I am making progress.

Therefore despite the fact that there is no time to do nothing, beauty abounds, and the culture encourages the art of enjoying the moment, I am somewhat lost. It is not easy to shed the habits of the other eleven months. In other words, I don’t know how to do anything easily.

Yesterday, I decided that we needed to travel to a town thirty minutes away for Saturday’s market. Several years ago, I found local cookies that I have neither a name nor a flavor to describe them, only a place. I wanted the cookies. There was a Saturday market but it has evolved to street after street and bin after bin of clothing. No cookies. I was disappointed and could not check cookies off of my list.

We have been hunting for a fire extinguisher since we arrived over a week ago. Despite trips to many different places, we have none. The market town had a hardware store. Surely success would come but alas no fire extinguisher and no guess as to where to buy one. Can’t check fire extinguishers off of my list.

The heat has risen and with no air conditioning, ninety degrees is something new to experience. I curled up under a fan, slept, and read, still discouraged.

Later that evening, I received a text to join Mike in the piazza for a glass of Prosecco, my favorite wine. I was tempted to decline as I had already drunk a glass but something told to me to accept. With no plan nor list and a sweaty body, I walked across the street.

Mike was delighted as he is able to take pleasure in any small thing that life offers. I envy his optimism and child-like enthusiasm. He had met several locals, given and received a language lesson, and was treated to a glass of wine. He also learned where you could refill water bottles for 5 cents a bottle. What a find!

I received my glass of sparkling wine from Mary, an extremely friendly bar owner, and settled into people-watching. Everyone was coming out to enjoy the Saturday night. I willed myself to just relax and after a fashion, I realized I had. I tried out my Italian with a few people and admired the many dogs accompanying their owners into the piazza. Later we took a walk and learned some fascinating history of our lovely town (will share in a later posting).

Dinner was eaten in a local Ristorante owned by a young woman and her mother. Almost everything we ate was homegrown and homemade, and quite delicious. Another walk through the neighborhood brought us back to the piazza where at eleven o’clock in the evening, it seemed like they were having a sidewalk sale. We met an Artisan, whose medium is glass, purchasing a set of earrings and a sunflower plate of sculpture.

It was on our walk home, that I realized how the real magic of the night was in my allowing it to unfold, without a list. No plans had been made. All I needed to enjoy the evening was a partner to share it with, time, and the willingness to relax. Grazia Umbertide.

The View from our Dinner Window

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