30 April 2018
30 April 2018
It is a matter of looks
One needs calm, one needs to strip down to the essential, to find that beat of the heart which helps us to relate to nature and to all around. This is why to pass some days in spring in Val d’Orcia is a healthy choice.
A person who is not aware of the past, of what occured, of what the meaning was, is not as free in choice and reason as one might think.
It is a question of how we look a things. What is there which lies beyond the row of cypress trees, over the hill? There is much to cast one’s eye on in this land of Tuscany, much which can take us back to times and thoughts of long ago. Val d’Orcia is a valley pleasant to the eye. It is a fact beyond discussion. In springtime there is an explosion of life which is beyond belief, as if a miracle has occured overnight. When the sky is at its best it is as if we we can admire Italy in its entirety. Turning our gaze to the north we can see the mountains which seperate Tuscany from Emilia. To the south we can romanticise that we are on our way to Rome. Yes, Val d’Orcia, has seen much of the development of Italy, a past which was a fervour of transition and saw many an evolution, and even occasional revolution. Just think of who passed this way – troops, pilgrims, traders, migrants and nobility too. Think of the princesses, saints, kings and queens too. Add to the list the many artists, poets and sculptors. And let us not forget the smiths, the carpenters and farm folk. Yes, the history of a nation is to be found here, under every stone, behind every shrub, there is a story of our past which can penetrate to our very heart. True, we sometimes need to stop and know how to relate to the past, to discover its gems, to understand the lessons it to this day is trying to impart. It is not always easy to learn and to appreciate what the past is telling us. Yet, it is important to stand, to dedicate time, and to distinguish the false from the true, the banal from the essential. We need to find that simplicity of spirit which allows us to contemplate what was and understand its significance, its relationship to what is here and now. It can be as simple as wondering about an arch, thinking about a frescoe, studying a medieval door, kneeling before a Madonna, looking at an oak, stroking a flower in bloom, These the very reasons why it is essential to step out of the car, walk and lose oneself in the silence and indulge in the voices of the past. It is far too easy to say that one has been to Pienza, visited Montalcino, passed by Radicofani, seen San Quirico. Yes, my dear friend, it is far too easy to speak about beauty and how one marvelled at the sight, to tick another location off the list and send yet another postcard from a place one has been to. No, no no. This is not the way to talk to the past, to learn from the past, to know about self and about the world we live in, about what Tuscany can give to us. One needs calm, one needs to strip down to the essential, to find that beat of the heart which helps us to relate to nature and to all around. This is why to pass some days in spring in Val d’Orcia is a healthy choice. To bathe in the calm and lifegiving waters, to cast one’s eye over the hills all around, to dedicate a thought to how life once was here in this blessed valley, to think of the persons who passed by this way. All of this, all of these actions can help us to gain that sense of how the past once was. And the moral behind all this? Well, a person who is not aware of the past, of what occured, of what the meaning was, is not as free in choice and reason as one might think. It is only though an appreciation of what was, that one is really free to find one’s position in time, to make a conscious reflection, and be free to choose one’s way. It is true what they say – it is all about stopping, looking, thinking, and reflecting. And as for Val d’Orcia? It certainly merits one’s attention, to be looked at, to be thought about, and to be reflected upon in the fullest, most sincere and appreciative of ways.