Occasionally in life we happen across the surreal. I currently seem to encounter it every day. Today it came in the form of San Leopoli, a small comune in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Picture rows of olive trees and breathtaking vineyards scattered across the rolling Tuscan hills that are dotted with villas. That's where I spent my afternoon. Like I said, surreal.
I was the designated page turner for a faculty concert, featuring a trio playing Mozart and Dvorak. We caught a bus there that took me back to the days of high school choir tour. Only difference was the bus was about 1/3 the size and the company was all significantly older. Our driver was really nice, but definitely a little crazy in the way he took on the winding Italian roads. I found myself extremely relieved when we took an hour and a half break in the small town of Greve. Who wants to be sick in a bus filled with faculty? I saw my career vanishing with my mounting carsickness. All was well, however. Grabbed a diet coke, a bench, and some fresh air and felt fine by the time we started the second, and much shorter, leg of our journey.
When we reached our magical destination in the heart of Tuscany, I felt like I had found myself. Odd, I know, but you know how you occasionally meet people who you just click with? You skip the whole "making friends" process because somehow you just already are? It's like there's a piece of you in them and vice versa. I decided that happens with places too. After the concert we went for an evening stroll through the garden of the comune: the scent of fresh rosemary and lavender scented the postcard perfect view. Everything was still and serene, and gazing out at the landscape, it was like I'd found one of those soul friends. It's difficult to explain. But I discovered a place where I could just exist as me. No defenses, no mental barriers---I could just breathe, relax and know that I was safe while defenseless. It's like going home. Or really trusting someone. Just feeling whole. It happens more often than I used to think; it's just a matter of awareness. But it happened in Chianti.