by Melinda Gallo

Reaching out

Earlier this week, a dear friend had suggested that we walk up to San Miniato on Saturday morning. After a few rainy and then sunny days, yesterday ended up being overcast. I was excited to visit San Miniato because I hadnít gone there in at least a year. After enjoying a cappuccino and pasta (pastry), we walked under the large wooden doorway of the ancient mura (wall) and made our way to the stairs. We hiked up the wide stone steps, leading up the hill to Piazzale Michelangiolo.

Living in Florence :: Reaching out

We first walked to the Piazzale Michelangiolo to take in the view of the city. I never tire of the panorama no matter how many times Iíve been up to the piazzale to see my beloved city. The piazzale presents the city as if it were on a platter, and I try to take in as much as I can. I could see a few snowcapped mountains in the distance even though there was a thick layer of foschia (haze) hovering over the city.

We then crossed the street to head up the stairs to San Miniato. I love walking up the steps in front of the facciata (face) of the chiesa (church). With each step, the chiesa became clearer and more stunning. For me there is something magical about San Miniato.

Instead of entering the chiesa, we first walked around the back to visit the cimitero (cemetery). I had never ventured behind the chiesa, but I was intrigued to visit more of San Miniato.

We strolled along the narrow path and looked at all the monuments, cappelle (chapels), and crosses. I spotted a monument that I wanted to photograph. The entire monument consists of this little girl reaching toward another girl who had passed.

Like this statue of the little girl, I always feel myself reaching out to my mom in the hopes of reconnecting with her. It will be 10 years in June that she passed away, but the desire for me, as her daughter, to feel that connection remains. In the time that has passed, I have had some wonderful memories, but time did not erase the memories I had before. Time inserts a buffer between the past and the present, but does not erase the past. I realize that love, like loss, does not disappear. Just like the love, and loss, I feel today is the same as it was 10 years ago.

Strangely enough I wasnít sad visiting the cimitero, but that might be because I donít know anyone who is buried there. It wasnít until after I got home and saw the photo of this statue that memories of my mother flooded my mind.

This morning when I woke up, the sun was shining brightly. I felt my mood from yesterday shift. Yesterdayís foschia not only hung in the sky, but was heavy on my heart. With the clear skies above today I feel lighter. I looked up at San Miniato this morning and it made me smile.

When I looked at the photo of the statue again today, I realized that even though I am reaching out for my mother, I know that she too is reaching out to me.

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