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Firenze, Italy as seen from atop the Campanile di Giotto

Firenze, Italy as seen from atop the Campanile di Giotto

I recorded the above sound byte from atop the Campanile di Giotto on November 1, 2014.  Every single time I hear the bells toll in Florence...or Venice...or anywhere, really, I get goosebumps.  The kind of goosebumps that are electric.  Like light or heat (or both) coursing through my veins. To climb the 414 stairs of this incredibly beautiful architectural wonder is astounding.  The steps grow more narrow as one ascends, allowing for only one person to proceed at a time--whether up or down.  The panoramic view of Florence from the top is truly breathtaking.  
To be inside the bell tower when the bells toll is one of the most incredible, moving experiences I have ever had.  
I've kept the bell toll recordings on my phone so I can return to Florence anytime I wish...at least in my dreams!
It was mid December 2014--the 18th to be precise--I was busy making our traditional Christmas lasagna (my beloved Dad's recipe) when UPS appeared at the gate with a package.  I knew it was the book I had recently ordered: "Memoirs of a Solo Traveler--My Love Affair with Italy" by Margie Miklas.  When I opened the familiar Amazon box, I got goosebumps!  The same kind of goosebumps I get when I hear those Campanile bells tolling. 
I had no idea then that Margie would become such a wonderful presence in my life.  
I opened the cover of her book, anxious to devour it's contents, and I froze.  I was overwhelmed by a number of feelings as I looked at the Introductory Pages: IV, V, and VI.  Those pages overflowed with GRATITUDE and GRACE.  Margie's beautiful book progressed with PASSION and FEELINGS and ended with the same Gratitude and Grace with which it began.
I learned as much about Margie as a person as I did about her travels through Bella Italia as I read her book.
In Persia, the name "Margie" means "Child of Light".
When I was perusing the thousands of photos from our recent visit to Italy, I happened upon the photo of Florence at night from atop the Campanile di Giotto and I got those same goosebumps all over again and thought: "THIS is exactly what Margie is like!"
Margie is the Light of Twitterland!  She is truly like a spark caught in a palace of mirrors---scattering Grace, Gratitude, Passion, and Feelings far and wide.
Asking not a single thing in return.
Creating a beautiful matrix of Light--uniting souls all over the globe.
Another meaning of the name "Margie" is "pearl".
Our world IS the oyster.
Margie IS our pearl.
Since I met Margie in late December, she has showered me with kindnesses too numerous to mention.  Her LIGHT is so stunningly brilliant---making every soul she touches SHINE a little brighter.
"Grace is not part of consciousness; it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason"--Pope Francis

"MARGIE":  synonymous with 
...Knowing Margie is like being inside the bell tower, gazing out in wonder at the spiderweb of lights across Firenze, as the campanile bells toll.
I am so grateful for this new found friendship with such an amazing, gracious human being.  It is my wish that the Light she emits return to her millionfold...again...and again.



Solo La Gentilezza

Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze, Italia  March, 2013

Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze, Italia  March, 2013

da Vinci
...The Masters of Italian Art
so many under one magnificent roof

...and these two native Italian men
dwarfed by colossal doors, windows, arches
the older gesticulating to the younger--
Humans contemplating life

[If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all ok
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these]

I was the last visitor to leave
The Uffizi that night
the grand cortile loomed dark and empty
save for these two gentlemen
and me
along with the ancients
in their niches along the portico
eternal gestures frozen in stone

[I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear]

As I strode the long corridor towards the two men
I was struck by the motion of their hands
the way they talked to one another with their bodies--
the earliest form of language?

One of my tiniest patients in the NICU...the day she discovered her thumb!

One of my tiniest patients in the NICU...the day she discovered her thumb!


[My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken]

The heels of my boots alerted the men to my approach
Both men paused and turned in my direction
I bid them both a cheerful Buonasera
...SOMETHING made me STOP.

[Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after]

I extended my hand
First, to the older gentleman
He didn't simply shake it,
He held my hand in both of his
Wise, deep brown eyes pierced me 
and he spoke
"Bella e forte!  Molto belle mani!"

I understood.

But, how did he know?

"Strong and beautiful woman! Very beautiful hands!"

Time stopped:

solo la gentilezza

[My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken]

Our interaction was so brief
yet timeless
my favorite moment
of my time in Florence
One of the most soulful compliments 
I've ever received
right there, in front of the Uffizi

Sacred.  Art.
Painters, sculptors, architects...the work of the artist's hands ...the history...
the feeling of being so small in the presence of things so grand so eloquent...so ancient


Each. Our Own.

[We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
God's heart.--*lyrics by Jewel]

...In the end, ONLY kindness matters. 

solo la gentilezza