I'm set out on a pilgrimage to light a candle for my very missed, right hand farm assisting, lavender comrade, shot gun riding, (8 months now deceased) angel dog Jeddie at the very place where the Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment received his stigmata due to his devotion. The man used to meditate in a cave below the monastery and I did the same.
When I began crafting the trip, just after my dog died this was planned as my first stop.
When mom died in late 2004 I took from her things a little statue of St. Francis that hung on the wall in the hall of her condo. It now hangs inside near the new front door of my tiny house. Always when I leave the house I'll say "Hey Frank, keep an eye on the place will ya?" I'm pretty sure he casts a veil of invisibility around it.
Behind Frank on the wall is a photo of Jeddie sitting by a large Beltane bonfire. Jed had a peculiar habit of sidling up close behind a person seated on the ground, nuzzling hair or the back of your neck.
From the same nail that attaches Frank to the wall also hangs a little household protection sachet I used to sell at market (I need to start making them again, let me know if you want one) called Gypsy Aegis. Ya, it's pagan as hell...but then I think Frank would appreciate that. I wrote a little blog
A blog about St. Francis can be found here. If you're a devout Christian, be forewarned, you might take offense. I never did take too kindly to the patriarchy.
A second stressful day; instead of trying unsuccessfully to roll my wheeled backpack behind me (a too narrow wheel base and cobble stones do not a smooth run make - it was aggravating my farmer's elbow that had just begun healing nicely,) I wore it on my back for the mile and a half hike to the car rental. Damn, it is difficult to not get distracted by so much art and incredible architecture (it was probably only a quarter mile walk from the convent!) Oooh! Lookie over there! Now don't get lost! Renting a car, and driving the outskirts of Firenze, and the A1 autostrada ain't fer the faint of heart.
Oh, but the mountain roads and hilltop villages and groves of Italian cypresses...!
I'm about to spend two weeks not rolling or back packing my 30 lb. pack on the cobble stone, rain slicked streets of Firenze but instead, driving a molto caro tiny little stick shift ("You can drive stick?" she asked me. Hell, are you kidding? I'm from Montana, woman. I can drive a tractor if you got one a those.") like a Maserati on winding single lane mountain roads! I'll be tripping around on secondary and tertiary back roads, stopping in at every last little hilltop village, tasting, buying and drinking fine red wine (between stops of course).
I've booked a couple Airbnb's - tiny, adorable little stucco (see photo of one in Castigliano Fiorentino, piccola casa sinistra) or stone cottages, hanging out harvesting olives or truffles at a few Agrotourismos...entrenching myself in the good life of the Chianti region.
Stay tuned dear readers.
How did I get here?!!!! Is this my beautiful life?