by Melinda Gallo

Respite brings about renewed vigor

Initially I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do on my day off. I imagined myself going to the Uffizi to admire the Nascita di Venere by Botticelli. Then, I thought I would eat lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. In the afternoon, I was hoping to enjoy a tea in the bar at the top of the Giardino Bardini while looking out at Florence. In the end, I didn’t do any of that and instead felt more inclined to walk one of my running routes along the lungarno to Ponte San Niccolò and then onto the viale (large avenue) that winds its way up to Piazzale Michelangiolo.

Living in Florence :: Respite brings about renewed vigor

It wasn’t until I was walking did I realize how much I had missed going up the stone sidewalk. I remembered how I noticed the weather changes each time I ran it. The tall trees, which are barren, basically announce the seasons by the color or lack of leaves. I love going up to Piazzale Michelangiolo, but hadn’t been in quite a while.

My walk quickly became more of a meditation. It wasn’t silent, but I liked hearing the hum of the cars going down the viale, the absence of any voices, nature on both sides of me, and my breath going in and out. I let ideas and words bubble up and tried not holding onto any of them. Anything related to all the confusion I’ve been experiencing, I just let go. All of that will be resolved and could certainly wait. I felt a blanket of peace and a quiet sense of joy come over me with each step.

Even though spring gave us a sneak peak a few days, ago, the temperatures recently plummeted. When I left my apartment, the sky was a dark grey and the threat of rain was imminent. As I reached the Piazzale Michelangiolo, the sun peeked out of the clouds and all my worries slid off of me like melted ice.

There were only a handful of tourists at the Piazzale admiring the view of the city. I stood at the low wall, looking out and thought to myself, somewhere down there is the apartment that I will eventually call my home. After a few minutes, I walked down the stairs through San Niccolò and back home.

It felt so comforting to enjoy my time like I used to when I was living n Florence full-time. Working in an office has restricted my sense of freedom and independence. I enjoy my work, but I do wish I could manage my time like before.

Today, I feel a renewed sense of vigor. My day off was a success for me. Relaxing, allowing, and taking time to breathe in my beloved city at my own pace was exactly what I needed. As I look out at the Arno now from my apartment right before I dive into work, I feel at peace. I know that if I feel overwhelmed again, I can just go for a walk and take in my beloved city.

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