God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Beaches--Italian Style

Written June 28
Maremma—the beautiful coast of Tuscany. We had our own lounge chairs and umbrella in true European style. Vendors patrolled the beach, selling purses, jewelry, towels, fresh coconut and massages. It was picture perfect and just what one seeks when wanting to kick back and let the world roll by. The water is shallow enough that kids can play easily; there are no stones to pierce delicate feet; lifeguards patrol making sure bambini stay within safe territory. Each night the beach is combed and cleaned and so the next morning there is a pristine scene awaiting a new day.

This week we are on the northwest coast of Sicily where small beach and fishing villages scatter themselves along the coast. Here black lava rocks spill into the sea, covering what may have been sandy beaches and leafy trees centuries ago. And—here is where people flock on weekends and when the weather becomes unbearably hot.

They bring umbrellas--finding crevices in the lava in which to secure them, inflatable water toys for the kids, coolers of soft drinks and picnic supplies and then lay towels across the hot, jagged remnants of Mt. Etna and sun bathe. It is in such contrast to the shores of Maremma and yet, the water is just as cool and inviting; kids play in the lapping waves; snack stands thrive and everyone seems content and happy. There is a sense of community as people join together for a day at the shore.

Two different styles of beach life, both providing escape from daily life, chores and worries, both rejuvenating the soul. After a day of sun, play, and fun with friends and family, life seems different and tomorrow has a new color. After all, it isn’t the soft sand that matters but the newness that the sea offers, time spent with the greatest of nature’s phenomena.

Whether on the soothing sands of the Maremma or the sharp stones left by a volcano, pleasure is found in equal measure.

1 comment:

leslie said...

I'm on school holidays here in cold Canberra - so I particularly enjoyed reading about the beaches of Italy. It sounds heavenly!