Today is my mentor’s birthday. He left this world just more than a year ago. I am still on my Italian holiday. I know that he is smiling that I did “try it and see” in my class at La Meridiana. Daily, I am thinking about the nuggets of take-always from the class. Considering how to incorporate this knowledge into my clay work at home. Robin coached me that I needed to really “see” more of the world and that I should travel as often as I could afford. This trip is honoring his counsel.
(A picture of Robin Hopper three years ago, he was always making music with any object available. This time a teapot. How appropriate!)
Bev and I had a wonderful day wandering down the mountain from Montepescali heading towards Tyrrhenian Sea to a town called Castiglione Della Pescaia. It was lovely. Lots of families walking, sunning, and playing at the beach. We hiked up to the fortress finding lovely views across the water. But, I digress.
Leaving Montepescali was a challenge. One that had both of us laughing. We are staying in an apartment with tiny, very tiny windy roads. The Italians drive effortlessly through these alleys. We had parked our Fiat close to our apartment. Now, I had to get it out of there and down the mountain. As I inch my way down the steep grade, we come to a tight right hand turn with stone walls on every side. Three cars arrive wanting to make the turn also. Finally, I wiggled my way out of the intersection and let them all go through. Then, the church ladies in their 4 inch high heels pass. They wobble down the cobblestone alleys. I don’t know which was more precarious me in my little manual car or their walk home. We made it out of the tight maze and onto the open road headed toward the beach. Whew!
Being by the ocean, watching people, smelling the salt water, watching children enjoying their time had me smiling in a big way. Our Lake Michigan beach days will be arriving soon and I love them.
Have I mentioned that I love trees and their bark? Cypress trees are in abundance here. Check out the arrangement of canopy (I call them umbrella trees) and cypress.
In Robin’s honor, I will look up the name of these umbrella trees. Their scientific name is Pinus Pinea or Umbrella Pines. These pine trees grow naturally around Tuscany. This is the tree where our beloved pine nuts grow. I think a pesto recipe is in order soon. Quite often, you will find cypress trees planted near a burial. It is believed that they assist the souls of our loved ones to heaven.
We made it back to the apartment without a scratch on the car. Walked around our town in the dusk.
Our world is an amazing place; filled with people trying to make the best with what they have; just like us; working; raising children; spending time with friends; and trying to find fun when they can. It was a fun day. Happy Birthday, Robin.