by Melinda Gallo

Festa di Ognissanti

This morning when I woke up, I was surprised to hear such stillness in the air. The city streets below were empty with only a few cars passing by. I left the house before 9am this morning and was happy that the rain had stopped. I ran under the thick layer of grey clouds along the lungarno (road along the Arno river) away from the Ponte Vecchio.

The sidewalks were wet from all the rain we had yesterday and early this morning and I had to jump over a few of the puddles that had formed. After Ponte San NiccolÚ under the tall trees, the sidewalk was covered with medium-sized yellow, gold, and brown leaves plastered to the ground. Even the cars parked along the street had a few stuck to them. I looked up a few times above my head to see the golden leaves still hanging onto the branches and wondering when they too would fall.

I ran over Ponte Giovanni da Verazzano to head back toward the center of town. The residential areas were even more peaceful: only a couple of cars drove by and a handful of people walked along the sidewalks.

Along the Lungarno Serristori after Piazza Poggi, the bells of the chiese (churches) on both sides of the Arno began to ring. The sound was so strong that the ringing of the bells bounced off the buildings and echoed all around me.

My only plan for the Festa di Ognissanti (All Saintsí Day) was to enjoy the peaceful city and keep to myself. I didnít want to navigate the busy streets or talk to anyone; I just wanted to go for a run, get some fresh air and stay home to read and write.

I had thought about wanting to do something specific to remember those who have come before me and honor them in my own way, but during my run, I decided against it.

The ringing of the bells reminded me that those who have passed on are always with me. I just need to notice their presence more, and today was a beautiful reminder of that for me.

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