Thursday, February 27, 2020

Italian is Alive Inside Me

Dedicated to my wonderful parents, Dena and Ric Ricci
The meadow is blank with fog this morning.
The grasses are every shade of tan and grey.
My mind feels empty.
This is the kind of
day when I open
my mouth to say
something and
my breath is
the only
to come out.
Still. I keep hoping for
for some grand inspiration.

Two weeks ago, out of the blue,
I decided I had to learn Italian.
I grew up hearing it spoken, my mom forever conversing with
my beloved grandparents, Mish and Claude.
But I never had any inclination to speak it myself.
I was content to learn Spanish and French.
Now I can’t get enough Italian.
The soft round sounds of the language are so
comforting. And the words feel so alive, like they are
beating inside my heart.

Part of what is going on is that I miss my very gentle mother. Dena.
And my dear father. Ric.
I miss them a lot.

As my friend Peg pointed out to me last week, it’s only been six months
since my Dad passed. Not that much time.
I still can’t get my head around the fact that I'm never going to see him or Mom -
ever again.
I will never visit their cozy house in Pittsfield for homemade bread and mouth-watering pot roast and 
the best apple pie I’ve ever tasted.

But that’s only part of it.
Lately, I have been practicing
staying in the NOW, not thinking or doing,
but just BEING alive and AWARE.

And constantly opening up my heart.
When it works, this present only practice brings deep
satisfaction. And gratitude. And feelings of love. Love for all creatures.
Italian, so musical and sensuous and romantic, fits this mind and body set perfectly.
It helps to keep me grounded in my senses.
It's the same kind of feeling I get when I hold my dog Poco on my chest. She's warm and soft and she
just rests there. It's so reassuring!

I have started an on-line Italian class, and I'm also using a translator program to write
phrases and sentences that appeal to me. I love speaking the sentences out loud. They make me feel 
like I'm taking care of myself. Saying what I need to say. And finding out who I really am.
Ironically, learning Italian not only connects me both to present day feelings but also links me 
directly to feelings and events in my childhood. Some of these events are terrifying.

But certainly not all of them.  I think of all the funny sayings my mother had. For 
example, when something really nice happened to me (like when I met my wonderful husband) she 
would smile and say: "Li cascado lu caso sober le maccheroni." Translation: "The cheese fell right on 
the macaroni!"

For my parent's 50th wedding anniversary in 1999 I made them a book
of my grandparents' favorite sayings. 

Saying them aloud is a lot of fun. 

These days, I am even enjoying conjugating verbs: like essere (to be) and
mangiare (to eat)

and of course, amare (to love).

And I'm busy transcribing Italian into my journal:

“Stay in the now!”
Resta nell’ora!
“Each moment is a gift.”
Ogni momento è un regalo.
“Life is a precious flower.”
La vita è un fiore prezioso.

"Stay present."

Rimani presente.
“May you enjoy all the small miracles today!”
Che tu possa godere di tutti i piccoli miracoli ogni giorno!

I hope Mom and Dad are listening to me
speak and learn new words every day.

As I write this all of a sudden a wild rain starts to fall.

Could that be a sign?

Papà e mamma ti amo così tanto!
Dad and Mom I love you so much!

A few minutes later, I try to print out this file. But the only thing that appears is this photo of my parents and me!

Could this be another sign?

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