by Melinda Gallo

Power of the Arno

Florence is not only one of my great loves, but it is also a good friend. Early this evening, I went to Ponte Santa Trinita with the four statues on each corner and stared into the Arno facing the Ponte Vecchio. I saw a piece of wood floating on the surface slowly making its way toward me. I imagined putting all my concerns, worries, and incessant thoughts on top of it. I watched it steadily pass under the bridge and down the river to the West. I crossed the bridge and watched that piece of wood some more. Letting go is always difficult, and sometimes I enjoy watching it slowly get smaller instead of just disappearing.

Living in Florence :: Power of the Arno

With the beauty of the city surrounding me and the sun setting, I felt Florence give me a gentle embrace. The cityís beauty, which is greatly accentuated by the sun, distracts me, uplifts me, and suddenly I felt light again.

Iím unable to hold onto my worries or problems for too long while standing on Ponte Santa Trinita and looking into the water. I turned around to see the Ponte Vecchio and stared at it while the sky grew darker. I felt a smile lift my cheeks and then my eyes, my face became softer and my heart lighter.

I donít even remember why I wasnít in a good mood before I arrived on the Ponte Santa Trinita, but suddenly it didnít matter. Florence was holding me, rocking me, as the colors in the sky became more vibrant. The sky was reflected on the water and showed the sunset above and below.

Sometimes I feel as if the Arno reflects my mood. There are times I find it murky and other times clear, reflecting the colorful buildings that border it. I know that when I can see beauty all around me, I am in a good mood. And when I canít, I need to return to the Arno, pour out my woes, and be transformed. One by one, my worries tumble into the river and flow far away from me.

I could never imagine Florence without the Arno. For me, the river is the most powerful aspect of the city. Itís like the blood that flows through the body, constantly circulating, removing what is no longer needed, and renewing the body.

I was certainly rewarded for having gone to the Arno this evening, not only because I felt lighter, but also because I captured a few moments of my beloved city that could never be reproduced.

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