Posted by: Mark Nielsen | July 9, 2009

San Francesco, San Chiara, San Cristoforo & the Blessed Fate of Travellers

I have little time to write today, for I have much to do, which I can write about later. Better to let these memories age (at least a little) — like Tuscan Chianti or Orvieto Rosso –before being bottled within mere words, then decanted and savored.

Enough to say that Sue and I both had beautiful experiences, transformative even, in Assisi on Tuesday and again in Tuscany (though to a lesser extent) on Wednesday. Most of all, it is like a second honeymoon, with spiritual renewal thrown in as a bonus. On the level of sheer fun, it is a fun little challenge to drive our low-end BMW 120 hatchback stick-shift up and down these twisty-windy hillside roads in central Italy. I have to focus, Zen-like, road and car and driver all moving and responding as one. Then we hit a pothole on the dirt road leading to our VERY remote resort ( ), and I am brought humbly back down to earth.

Meanwhile, we are in search of the perfect photo of a giant field of sunflowers. They keep surprising Sue as we come around a bend, and there they are, but her phone’s camera is not set properly, or a tree gets in the way, or the road turns back just as quickly away from the beautiful view. But we will get that shot, and more, before we leave rustic, beautiful Umbria.

And soon I will also say more of the guidance of Jesus, and San Francesco, and San Chiara, and the mountains which move for us when we need them to. And of St. Christopher –the former patron saint of travelers –who I am led to believe was demoted a decade or more ago, but whose spirit lives on in the hearts of people like me who wander over hills and across oceans in search of God’s gifts and His gentle yet powerful voice.

But today we will simply go to the nearby, gorgeous, cliff-top town of Orvieto to poke around looking for gifts, and to let the grace fall upon us in yet another ancient Italian town. Then perhaps home this evening for a short ride on one of the lovely horses I met on my nature walk the other day, down at La Casella’s private stables and equestrian school. I made good eye contact with one, and gve him a few pats, and he said with his eyes he’d be glad to offer me a ride this week.



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