Sunday, April 26, 2020

Life on the Island – When This is Over – Promises to Keep

Palermo - Isola delle Femmine
If there is a theme to what has been scrolling past my screen lately, it is that there are many of us who want to do it a little differently when this wave passes. And while there are as many hopeful iterations for the future as there are of us, my thoughts today are with the hopeful and affirmative ones who understand that resilience is an unbounding strength, not only in these times.

So, how will things be different, when this is over? What does your crystal ball reveal to you? Here are some of the musings I’ve gathered.

Piazza Bodoni - Torino
From Italy, a friend wants to spend more time with his real friends and family. “For too long, I’ve immersed myself in a world of the virtual, spending more time on building my brand than shoring up my foundation. In the meantime, my children are growing up, too fast, and they are immersed in their own little worlds. We were supposed to be more connected, but what I now realize is that we have grown apart. These little conveniences, the phone, the always-in-touch, the going here and going there, and telling my world about it, as if I had such sway on them, while we all are doing it – who is listening? Who is receiving all this influence? It now seems like jetsam, just a bunch of stuff we’re shooting out from the bowels of our ship. It looks silly. And now, I can change my world. I’m not waiting for when this is over – lesson learned.”

Holderness, New Hampshire
From a mountain retreat in New England, this missive: “For years I traveled the world. You name it, I’ve been there. It was work, but it was a joy. Looking back, I have no regrets. But now, I’ve been traveling in a different manner. I take long walks in the forest. I’m learning how to survive on the land, if need be. The animals are my community, for up here we rarely see humans. And as we moved here before the crisis, we settled into a way of life before it was imposed upon us. So, this is all natural to me now. But, when I was back in the default world, it all seemed so important, so thriving, so essential. Now, I am in another part of the essence, and this one is much calmer, more peaceful, and it is really timeless. When this is over, I don’t think I can go back.”

Southern California
It’s not that simple for people who have jobs and young children. They cannot retreat from the world; they must face it. A father writes, “I have two young children, and I’m years from retiring. I cannot stop the world and get off. But somehow the connection I’ve made up to now, when this is over, I think those will be different. I don’t need “friends” – I need friends. I don’t need “likes” – I need love. And I need to give love to my friends and family in a more connected way. So, yes, when this is over, my world will shrink, but I think it will be a better fit, because what will be in it will be what is meant to be. Not all this wishing and hoping. Real friends, real family connections and, hopefully, enduring love.”

My young friend is so hopeful. But isn’t hope an integral part of resilience? I certainly think so.

I’ve been watching video webcams from all over the world. Mainly of eagles and other animals. But occasionally I turn on a camera in a city in Italy. Today I looked at Verona, where last week Vinitaly was cancelled. And virtually traveled to Venice, went down to Rome and then headed to Sicily. All quiet, Naples especially, which commonly promises a cacophony of hubbub. Nothing commonplace now. What will common be, when this is over?

Piazza Pantheon, Rome
Another young friend from Asia, writes, “My world was just opening up. After years of servitude and toil, my parents thought my generation would be the one to break out of the shell we‘ve been in for so many generations. I was getting my career together, making friends, developing my craft. And now, Italian wine studies seem like something abstract, like philosophy. I’m at a turning point but I don’t know where to turn to. The world has stopped turning for now. So, I must make my way, tiny steps for now. No “get on a plane and fly to Rome,” for me. I must go inside and find my inner Italy. Which sounds strange, but I think finding a way inside will prepare me for the future. When this is over? I’ll still be young, I’ll have time. I’ll make my way.”

Pantelleria harbor

19 years ago my world was in ruin. My wife had suffered and died after an unbearably long descent, afflicted with multiple sclerosis. Her life was over and I didn’t know what to make of mine. I went to Pantelleria and detached from the outside world for 14 days. And I thought, and walked, and grieved. And decided then, to honor her life and all the struggles she went through, I had to be more resilient, and embrace the life in front of me. And I think that is what many of us are doing now, in this time.

I wish you all well, and when this is over, let’s not forget to have dinner, or drinks, or coffee, or just because, with those who are near and dear, to each and everyone of us. Let's shake on it.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


Patty W Ferrini said...

Virtual shake.
The opportunity to keep in touch with not only the people we hold dear, but those who are generous to share
through social media is a gift beyond price.

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks Patty.
We go back a long time, so our connection will not break. But I have found that some of the "friends" and connections I have made through social media weren't always as permanent. Things change, and in our world, people move on. I'm learning to see social media "friendship" more like a wave, it ebbs and flows. But there ain't nothin' like the real thing, sister! Thank you for years of real friendship.

Andrew Martin said...

Beautiful writing and wise. The connection of good Italian wine is a strong one, I hope. Should you ever visit Australia, it would be a treat to share a moment at the table. When this has passed, as all things do. Go well, Andrew.

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