Jamie and I went to Italy together back in February of 2014.
A girls trip.
I fell in love with a city for the first time on that trip.
I have so many wonderful memories of that trip
the best pasta I have ever had, art is “so smoothy”, I got to row a boat down the grand canal, gelato daily, works of art in real life that were bigger… and smaller than I expected, street art, amazing cooking class, a vineyard where I want to retire… , Vatican City and the hall of maps, so much more...
But one memory from that trip changed me.
Jamie and I decided to get up before the sun and take photos.
We bundled up, cameras in hand
and went to Piazza San Marco to take photos of the gondolas.
The first hints of light were in the air,
but we arrived before the sun.
The square was still asleep.
The only people out were on their way to something.
I was lost in my own little world
of trying to capture the feeling of the morning,
The mist in the air, the boats swaying in the water,
The slow yawn of the city as it stretched
and reached out to begin the day.
Slowly rubbing sleep out of its eyes.
I was taking photos of a couple of signs above a door
One said “Change” and the other “Travel”
I was thinking about how much Travel and Change are aligned.
Neither sign photographed well.
But it was at this moment,
A man walked by and said something in Italian.
I don’t speak this beautiful language
and wish that I did
and wish that I could play back his exact Italian.
I only knew it wasn’t good morning…
I looked at him and smiled in the usual
“I have no idea what you said but thank you.”
He saw I had no idea what he said…
he seemed to laughing and shaking his head
for my odd choice of photo.
But he repeated in English with a thick Italian Accent
“Ah Beautiful Grunge.”
And tipped his hat and kept walking on his way.
That was a beautiful present moment.
That moment is like a little morsel of really good dark chocolate.
Rich, buttery, bitter and gone quickly but lingers.
It was this unknown Italian man who gave me words
around exactly what Venice is
and it seems so much of all of life.
Actually much of Europe is filled with Beautiful Grunge.
The art that I make these days
Is inspired by this idea of “beautiful grunge”
“Beautiful Grunge” is found in so many things.
I also know it to be Wabi Sabi - finding beauty in the imperfections.
If you live this life long enough
the grunge and imperfections will get you
And it sure is beautiful.
"if you look at it with the right eyes...."
(another gem from a trip)
Travel and Change.
I had no idea how much that moment would change me.
That is the moment
that I had words to describe it.
To the man walking by
That early morning
For your wisdom and words
And for sharing them with me.
I am forever changed by that travel moment.