Reminiscing About Italy Has Been a Favorite Way of Distraction During Covid Lerici in Liguria, Italy--October, 2019 (Poem about returning to Italy below blog)
In this last year, most of us have been especially isolated and unsociable. We've had to rely on masks, being content at home, and zoom for communication in just about every way. If you are like me, you are completely on your own without a partner or family in an already isolated time. The days stretch long but the weeks fly by and it's difficult to know what day it is when morning comes. Isn't it remarkable that this has been our natural state for a year? We've survived and many have thrived discovering new creative paths. I've continued taking class through City College (Italian/Creative Writing) to keep my brain active, as well as having a way of being held accountable with daily homework and writing assignments. If not for nature, exercise, class, writing, and a handful of friends I'm in touch with, I think I'd be certifiable by now. Admittedly, there are cycles of depression when the endlessness is overwhelming. I'd been isolated for years going through a complicated breast cancer journey and my 9th and final surgery January 2020 took the last bit of warrior out of me and recovery in isolation was several weeks. I've been left with occasional PTSD, procrastination of the slightest thing that would prove to be taxing or hurtful, and, at times, being extra sensitive. Then Coronavirus hit and we all became isolated at home. I've heard from quite a few people how extra tired they've been through all of this. I would include myself in this category. There were (are) days I find myself realizing it's only 6:30 when I'm ready for bed. I've gotten in bed not much past that viewing several animal videos to not only take a break from the distressing news of the pandemic, but a worse distressing news horror: Trump! At least we now have leadership and empathy where Covid-19 is concerned and a stable person at the helm in the White House.
One of the other ways I distract myself is to reminisce about my month long travel to Italy in the fall of 2019. Not only am I forever grateful for being sponsored to take the trip and share my workshop, "Living and Healing Through Color' and sharing a particularly image and color driven essay from my book at a retreat for breast cancer survivors in Tuscany, but to be back in Italy after a few decades and travel on my own for more than 3-weeks was pure heaven. In my spring semester Creative Writing class, we have 4 genres we study and write for. The first one was poetry. While I'm intimidated by all the great poets who've blessed us with such incredible beauty, I enjoyed creating my own poems. The following poem is one I wrote in honor of my trip to Italia. The challenge was to pack in many sentiments in a poem of just three stanzas:
Pietrasanta Village, Tuscany - Italia
Returning to Italy Tucked in the Tuscan hills my heart cheers, The spiritual bells were ringing and singing, Appeasing restless bones and a soul in fear. The Italian flavors nourished many hungers. From stone balustrades, emerald hills lingering In proud ancient villages and lively squares. Sipping espresso in café bars, my feet On ancient cobble stone streets, Gazing out on the teal-blue sea.
Tellaro Fishing Village-Italia
I trust you are well, thriving, engaged in life, and discovering wonderful creative pursuits. Keep on swimming through life, Valerie Anne