Barely awake at a dark sleeping hour, I need to find my way to the bathroom. Eyes closed, I do a rolodex spin of recent steps to map out the way through unfamiliar rooms I’ve stayed in over the past 2 weeks. Opening my eyes a crack I realize I am in my own bed. I am home after adventures in Athens and multiple Italian towns and cities.
A day later and the liminal space between sleep and waking is like a sci-fi film of images and moments and dreams of Italy and home, blurry and stretchy, my subconscious grasps on to time and space of my recent journey. As full consciousness moves in I appreciate the familiarity and comfort, my things, my language, but dread the inevitable hum-drum and stress of routine, what needs to be done, of work life. Traveling again after so many years made my heart beat stronger. It felt good, especially this trip with the best company.
While unpacking and taking stock of what I need in the refrigerator, I do my best to hang on to the magic. Jet lag helps – a dreamy state with odd waking times. I try to keep my shoulders and jaw relaxed and maintain the strength my legs after clocking in an average of 8 miles a day walking. This is how I want to continue to live: healthy and paying attention! Eating good food when I’m hungry, out each day in the fresh air. Listening to my body. Well, mostly – my feet are still mad at me for ignoring them too often.
For 2 weeks I lived happily out of a carry-on backpack and now I feel ambivalent about my stuffed closet and bureau of so much clothing. I am happy for my bed although every Greek and Italian one I slept in was excellent. I delight in my garden’s bounty – bursting with tomatoes and lettuce and squash. There are even a few peaches left on my trees and pears not yet ripe that I may be able to get to before the resident squirrels. But the food tasted better over there – all of it. Even the paltry cheese toast sandwich on the train to Brindisi. They do many things much better than we do. The trains were on time. I remember there used to be jokes about Italian train times. I have no such tales to tell you from our trip except for the train we took to Rome arriving early.
Yes, it is good to be home but oh, I really love Italy! This was a pilgrimage of sorts – launched in Athens for an amazing gathering of neighbors and friends to celebrate a spectacular wedding before Molly and I crossed the Adriatic over to Puglia, Italy to visit where she was born and lived for the first 4 months of her life. That will be another post. (at least) Meanwhile, I am treading in the in-between time, not ready to leave the dreamy space of the trip that was a journey of love and history and fuel for future chapters.