This place

Three strikes of the brass bell. Each strike rattles the frame that holds the bell, sending vibrations into the soles of my boots. Although my feet tingle, they steady and relax into the stone floor. Then comes the ding, as the little brother or sister trying to impress. Only one. It's 3.15. I give myself half an hour in the Temple of Minerva.

Built in the first century BC as a Roman temple to worship Mars, it was converted in the 16th century to what is today the St Maria Sopraminerva Church.

But you don't have to be religious to appreciate this place. Sitting in the musty silence, the energy is breathtaking. Grounding and still, with an undeniable strength and dignity that permeates the space. The few wooden pews for 20 or so people are dwarfed by statues gilded in gold leaf of saints, cupids and angels, and columns that support a basic, sarcophagus shaped altar. Colourful frescos adorn the ceiling and pink and orange gerberas sit at the foot of the altar, both adding to the temple's heart.

Thankful and appreciative to be alone, l shut my eyes and succumb to the wooden seat that supports me. I breathe deep the air of chalk and stone and prepare to soak in every miniscule of everything I can. 

Light humming creeps into my ears. My body relaxes, limbs become heavy and soon, l don’t feel them. Another deep breath and a comfort begins to sweep in, triggering an insatiable desire for more.

Although l don't feel my legs, my left achilles starts to ache, probably from the last four weeks of walking over old cobble stones. My right foot follows in sympathy with a tenderness at the base of my big toe, possibly bruised from climbing the many hills and worn stairs.

But for all the aches, there has been much fun and laughter, crazy falls over slippery and unsuspecting ice, and reminiscing and reconnecting with family. Much food and wine too, way too much.

Another deep breath, a sense of calm washes over and my whole body feels as if it is hovering.

Hes, shes and theys weave in and out, become liquid thoughts of laughter with family and new friends. So much warmth, even in freezing temperatures of snowmobiling under a polar sun and late night scouting for the dancing night lights of the polar north. 

My body becomes weightless, I'm unable to feel it. Thoughts are random and mixed, come and fade to nothing, become as fluid as the snowfalls of little balls as we walked up mountains, and as the streams of tears of goodbye. 

Three more strikes of the brass bell and rattle of the frame, and two dings.

Thoughts move in and out, linger in a space of infinity and drift.

Here, in this tiny town of goodness and grace, everything is different. The water is crisp, fresh and untainted, lunch earlier of short cannelloni filled with veal and ricotta tossed in a pumpkin and truffle sauce, the Chianti ... the flavours are distinct and clean, as gentle and pure as the people in this town and the monks and nuns walking the streets. Calmness and cleansing exude as profusely as the black and white scenes of snow-laden Alps viewed from the train a week earlier.

It’s a purity that can't be described. It's more to be savoured as the most sought after wine or chocolate, or softness of the most pristine mountain water.

It’s a calmness in the air, as if the place has its own cone placed over the top to exist in it’s own ecosystem, even with a blustering wind over the Rocca Maggiore on the hill top, a fortified feudal castle from the 1100s AD. The climb today to the top will test my legs in the morning.

This place is like stepping back in time. Not for its life, material value or amenity, more in the goodness and giving of people. In a world full of materialism and self adoration, this place is a haven for old fashioned good.

Another three strikes of the brass bell and rattle of the frame, followed by three dings.

I ease my eyes open, taste my mouth as if just waking. I'm surprised by where l am and realise I must have drifted to somewhere else. A scan around me reveals no one.

It may be time to get back to my travelling buddies but l will return.

Assisi, you have my heart.

Recent Comments
Former Member
Beautiful blog, Monika. I felt like I was there with you, and I can certainly relate to your drop into solitude and awareness. A... Read More
Sunday, 22 January 2017 20:36
Monika Schott
Thanks, Mary. Assisi is wonderful!
Monday, 23 January 2017 19:09
Katherine Gregor
I have fond memories of Assisi. I haven't seen the cathedral since it was rebuilt after the earthquake, though. Do tell where al... Read More
Monday, 23 January 2017 14:34
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8 Comments

Jelly cakes and daffodils

There’s a place where petunias and pansies in reds and blues and edged in frills of white stretch as an endless sea of pretty. Their finery is you, poised in baubles of ranunculi and dainty blush-pink, tea roses that weep of gentle bliss on the waft of yesterday. Their delicate petals wrap snug around a centre oozing in precious, tender nurture.

And in this place, we sip tea from fine porcelain cups laced in pale blue forget-me-nots as we savour raspberry jelly cakes sprinkled in Easter daisies and scones of yellow daffodils with piercing red centres, chuckling and nodding to caught up news.

It’s all you, unwavering in acceptance of all the hydrangeas in their shades of pinks, purples and electric blue, sometimes tinged brown or wilting from a harsh reality that takes nothing from their beauty.  

As gladioli from heights of cherry and burgundy, you watch in adoring eye from the curling lips of flowers, guiding in gentle care.

Your garden of fertile flourishes forever, eternal in the warm buttercups and lemons of heavenly jonquils, indestructible and surviving in the most abandoned of gardens.

And yet there’s this other place, a chasm of gaping void strewn in unsuspecting boulders and glaciers of splintered shatterings. The dark, barren expanse sweeps beyond the horizon as a vast vacuum of loss, where cups of teas and coffees when the day’s tea quota has been reached, and cream puffs of whipped cream and soft, biscuity chocolate hedgehog are no more.

Still, the fuchsias continue to flower, twirling as ballerinas in their tutus on the gist of gardenias, ever dependable in their orange blossom honey and refined bloom.

The nods are forever free in your garden, among the tulips and snapdragons, the lilacs, violets, dahlias and peonies … in forever love.

 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
This is so rich and colourful, Moni. I wonder whether you paint as well as write and if some of your images are your own work.... Read More
Monday, 09 May 2016 17:49
Monika Schott
Hi Rosy. Thanks for your comments, which are very insightful as I did paint in oils and draw in charcoal and chalks once. My work ... Read More
Tuesday, 10 May 2016 00:06
Rosy Cole
I do hope you will! I'd like to as well! It's something I'd love the time to return to (after many decades). Art is more therapeut... Read More
Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:28
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Braless and sipping champagne

 

 

Whip off that bra … so free and fabulous! Kick off the heels and shed the stockings …

Slip into the softest, stretch-with-your-every-move pyjamas for complete comfort after a long day. Pop the cork of the best, cooled champagne and pour it into the glamour of a 1950’s coupe that fills the stem before bubbling as an eruption into the bowl. And sip. They say the champagne coupe was modelled on the breast of Helen of Troy or Marie Antoinette, some even say Madame de Pompadour.

It could be a scene from Absolutely Fabulous where Edina and Patsy drink champagne at the kitchen bench. For a moment, you can appreciate the end of the day or the week that’s been, or even a completed job, before the next hours of dinner and washing, the next day of work and whatever else life throws at you.

Escaping any shackles imbues a sense of energy and freedom, a true liberation. Joan of Arc as the fearless warrior and the 1960s feminist movement where going braless was a revolutionary act, of being comfortable above meeting social expectations, instils a similar release.

Try it. Toss the bag onto the chair and unknot the tie, replace the shoes and socks for thongs or flip flops or no shoes at all. Free those toes onto the warmth of wooden floors or into the grass outside as you inspect the garden, the tomatoes turning green-yellow, the chillies of flaming red. Grab the shovel and hoe into the dirt, the sun warming your back and the Daphne against the paling fence that exudes its sweetness.

Slide off the tweed trousers and draw up the board shorts or boxers after a 40-degree day, free style if that’s your thing.

Pull on those boots to snowboard down a thick powdery layer of virgin snow, to sprays of cool over bare cheeks and you as the only movement among the white. Appreciate the isolation and serenity.

Lounge to a movie or birds chortling their business with a book in hand, laughter in another room. Go for a run or swim, slump into the bean bag or arm chair with The Supremes, Sting or Strauss or any music that transports you to a time of fancy-free and invincible, with your kind of champagne by your side.

And breathe.

Free of all constraints, freedom to be where you are and feel what you feel, in the conviction of you are where you are meant to be, even without clarity of what that is, a sovereignty to a knowing when the lift door opens to the next floor.

They’re moments of pure immersion, when sipping the effervescence that lights the head in a contrast of weightlessness, energy and vitality to fuel a revolution within, bubbles up the stem.

Madame de Pompadour once said, “Champagne is the only drink that leaves a woman still beautiful after drinking it.”

‘Do you want something, Eddy, to go with your champagne?’

‘No, darling, nothing for me but your friendship, Patsy. And to have this damn bra off.’

 

 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
You've just inspired me to administer myself some regular TLC. Thank you!
Sunday, 03 April 2016 20:49
Monika Schott
Enjoy every second of it. We deserve a little TLC. ... Read More
Sunday, 03 April 2016 21:08
Rosy Cole
Unashamedly sybaritic! ... Read More
Monday, 04 April 2016 11:05
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Kisses

There’s something in the sharing of feeling beyond understanding of language, where supple lips meet and tongues swirl to be lost in dizzy delight, or where cheeks brush in a softness of silk and kisses linger in the air of personal space.

Mine begin early from pooches, my blue-eyed girl first after thumping down the hallway in good morning squeals, her nails nicking the wooden boards as she bounds over her petite brown-eyed sister gliding for a hello too. Licks come fast and frenzied and a scratch on their head settles them to snuggle beside me, one by my chaise lounge of greying blue and the other resting her chin on my feet under my desk.

Then come the boys, usually one by one and in quick succession during a work and school week, or as a stroll that can be hours apart every other day. Their sleepy good morning kisses can be warm and soft, even over chiselled jaws, or come in a fleeting hurry to get out the door. They can be the lightest of pecks on cheeks that sometimes glide by with no skin contact at all and go beyond the ‘hob-nobbery’ of air kisses. Other times, one simple kiss lands with such powerful intent, loaded in boundless love that overwhelms and leaves me sopping in nourishing love. As little lads, we sometimes played games of butterfly and fish kisses that led to such laughter, of tigers and Eskimos too.

Lucky for me, I still have hello and good bye kisses from Mum and my brother who has spent all of his nine lives and is looking exceptionally well these days. And Mum’s partner, my partner and aunts and uncles, cousins, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews … from families galore. They're hello and good bye kisses on cheeks and lips, automatic and customary, ones of habit steeped in deep memory and others brimming in open love. And from friends too, kisses and squeeze me tight hugs come with a depth of appreciation, care and love, and understanding of no matter what.

Kisses can be the obligatory greeting hello between acquaintances and colleagues, more heartfelt than the handshake. They can grow in warmth with hugs of thank you and good bye and air kisses of serious connection, even though lips may not touch and it’s the caress of skin that locks the energy. That can feed lingering thoughts over lunch and in meetings, of good byes in passionate, locked lips where hands cupping and caressing become part of the kiss and all is lost to tantalising tingles and hearts in jitters.

Then there are those ‘others’, the ones where a kiss landing lip to lip takes you by surprise and you wonder whether if mouths were slightly open, you’d go all the way, and the secret within of wanting to go all the way. Or the online flirt that could be a kiss if that person stood in front of you and you imagine what that kiss might be.

Of course kisses are never all Daphne and tulips and there are those soaked in sadness and laced in loss and blue, the ones weighted in tiredness and burden that require a sit and unravelling of the day. These kisses can be an exchange that lessen the load and strengthen a connection.

Regardless of the intent and expression of any kiss, all carry their own reservoir of precious, pooling droplets ready to fall into a garden of ripe and rich. I'd wilt without them.

woman blowing a kiss 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
"A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous." (Ingrid Bergman) Kisses are very inti... Read More
Sunday, 07 February 2016 08:38
Monika Schott
That's a lovely quote from Ingrid Bergman and perfectly true. A kiss says so much. Thanks as always.
Sunday, 07 February 2016 19:00
Sue Martin Glasco
Kisses bring us good health--emotional and physical. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with kisses. I enjoyed th... Read More
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 04:40
1601 Hits
4 Comments

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