Train to Florence (a poem)
Reckless and violent,
the train speeds over slick
wet tracks, through gray
olive groves and fields of sunflowers
shimmering in the misty rain,
fading into nonexistence.
My heart is in my throat,
my train ticket, crumpled and hot
crushed in my fist.
At the end of my time in Italy, I spent 3 days alone in Florence. Even though I had already been there for a day on the group field trip with the other artists, it was a different experience spending a few days alone. Those days were so full that I have decided to spread them out over several blog posts. This blog post is an account from my diary from my first evening and morning in Florence.
July 24th 2017, my diary...
I'm sitting on the train bound for Florence. It's a 3-hour train ride, and we are stopped at Attigliano currently. I'm so excited I can hardly sit still. My heart is in my throat and butterflies are in my stomach-- all the clichés are true! I have a panino in my bag, but I'm too excited to eat it...
The train is rolling; the countryside spreads out all around us: gentle, rolling, dusty hills dotted with olive orchards and vineyards and old, old buildings...and new buildings too. Fields of sunflowers blooming--miles and miles of them, it seems, and also regular city-type things: factories and cars and trash. Distant mountains, just like those out of Renaissance paintings, fade away beneath the clouds.
The greens are iridescent here, the tiny leaves of the olive trees seem to almost sparkle when the wind blows them. It was such a pleasure trying to paint them. I wonder if I lived up to my artistic potential here? I feel like I have only 1-2 "good paintings" and several "attempts." But also, so much experience, brimming inside of me.
"It's in here," Loz reassured me early this morning, tapping me affectionately on my head. (I was packing to leave and and feeling regretful about not having a suitcase filled with good, finished paintings.) But...Loz is right: much of the work I did over these two weeks is not visible, outwardly. Instead, it is within me.
July 25th, my diary...
Good morning from my lovely hostel patio up in the rooftops. The air is cool, the sky is blue. A nice woman is making breakfast which is included. I have a 10 am ticket to the Uffizi. Sigh...
Last night I wandered around Florence forever. I got lost. My heart filled up and cracked over and over again...
Yesterday I bought Ian [my husband] a little leather notebook. After I bought it, the man who owned the stall asked me out on a date! I felt awkward and tongue-tied, so I just smiled and literally ran away!
Everything is SO beautiful. The photographs didn't prepare me. For example, the power of the duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) radiant in the slanting evening sun, just took my breath away! Words fall short anyway.
Last night I hiked up to the Piazzale Michelangelo and watched the sunset. The light was other-wordly: pure, mystical, just so amazing!
Cathedral bells are ringing, my heart is breaking, and yet I'm so happy.
Is it so important, all this agonizing about other people? Perhaps I should be looking within my own heart.
to be continued... Uffizi (Italy Part 7)