What is eternal
We ate in the center of the Forum. We spread out our 4 euro picnic of tomatoes, Sorrento olive oil, fresh baked bread, kiwis, and oranges with as much pleasure as the emperors found here in their ancient banquets. There is no joy quite like tomatoes and olive oil in the sun.
Up above the crowds on Palatine hill, we circled the stones and arches to the House of Augustus. We had rounded the corner of history and found the past alive. From far away came the echo of wind pipes (from a Peruvian street performer outside the ruins). It sounded like the old god Pan was playing his pipes still. As I passed each stone wall, I could almost feel a nymph go running by me with Apollo chasing behind. When I turned the corner, there was only a tree there to mark her transformation. Imagine sneaking over the gates at night and finding a table prepared for a feast, heavy with olives, grapes, bread, and meat. Bacchus must host his parties here still. I hear the clash of wine cups and the roar of his guests in the trees. Grazie Roma for inviting us to share yourbeauty. It is a dream awake.
There are places that take my breath away, but then there are sights that give me back my breath. Rome restores. It’s peach hued stucco walls, it’s gelaterias, it’s crowds of Italians and tourists walking the streets for a nightly passeggiata put passion back into each day. My friend, seeing the locals at night, said with amazement that, “Italians live like we would only live on holiday”.
And what a holiday Italian life is! I’m writing on a green hillside above the city, the eternal city. I believe Rome is eternal not only because of the glory if its past and the sights that survive today, but because time is counted differently here. The ever present to do list is washed away by the understanding that we are small before history. The stress of ‘soon’ ‘next’ and ‘tomorrow’ pales before the certainty that some beauty lasts, but our days will not. And so, Rome’s eternal nature is a gentle smile from the city, reminding us that we are not eternal, but that it is alright. Some things remain. Greatness remains.
Now sit and look at greatness with a gelato
always, truly, sincerely
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